Published January 31, 2013
| Sports Network
The well-rested Calgary Flames will try to build off their first win of the season when they host the sliding Colorado Avalanche in a Northwest Division battle at the Saddledome.
The Flames went 0-2-1 to begin the season before finally picking up a win Saturday against the visiting Edmonton Oilers. Lee Stempniak had a goal and two assists to help lift Calgary to the 4-3 regulation decision.
Jay Bouwmeester registered a goal and a helper for the Flames, who got 17 saves from Miikka Kiprusoff.
"We did a good job of sticking with it tonight," Stempniak said.
After three consecutive losses, Bob Hartley was able to pick up his first win as the Flames' head coach. Hartley led Colorado to a Stanley Cup title back in 2001, but this Calgary job is his first stint as an NHL head coach since he was fired by Atlanta early in the 2007-08 campaign.
With four days off in between the Edmonton game and Thursday's test against Colorado, the Flames tried to use the break to come together as a team.
"Certainly this time off is going to allow us some time to fix and correct and improve the way Bob wants us to play," said Calgary forward Alex Tanguay.
Things will pick up for Calgary beginning with this game. The Flames have five games over the next 10 days and eight in the next 16.
The Flames are 1-2-0 as the host and will close a three-game homestand when Chicago visits the Saddledome on Saturday.
Colorado enters this contest on a three-game skid and the Avalanche have only managed one goal during that losing streak. The club was shut out Wednesday in Vancouver, marking the second time Colorado has been blanked in the last three games.
The Avalanche fired 24 shots at Canucks goaltender Roberto Luongo, who earned his 61st career shutout in the 3-0 decision at Rogers Arena. The Canucks improved to 16-0-2 in the last 18 meetings with the Avalanche.
Semyon Varlamov stopped 20 shots in defeat.
"I thought we stuck with it, we worked hard," Colorado coach Joe Sacco said. "I can't fault their effort at all."
Colorado is 0-4 on the road this season and the team is ending a four-game swing on Thursday. The Avs will begin a four-game homestand Saturday when they host the Edmonton Oilers.
Avalanche captain Gabriel Landeskog has missed the last two games with head and leg injuries. The reigning Calder Trophy winner was hurt Saturday when he absorbed a check by Sharks defenseman Brad Stuart in Colorado's 4-0 setback at San Jose. As of yet, there is no timetable for the Swedish forward's return to game action.
Calgary won four of six against the Avalanche in 2011-12, but Colorado claimed the final two meetings. The Flames have 11 wins in the last 14 encounters in this series overall, but Colorado has taken five of nine in Calgary.