Trying for a fourth straight victory, the Flames host the Western Conference-leading Avalanche on Wednesday night.
Calgary (7-2-1) improved to 5-0 against division opponents with a 5-2 win over Edmonton on Saturday. Nigel Dawes(notes) had two goals and Rene Bourque(notes) added one with two assists in the opener of a five-game homestand.
The Flames, five points behind Colorado (9-1-2) in the Northwest, have already beaten Edmonton three times and reigning division champion Vancouver twice. Calgary, 5-1-0 at the Pengrowth Saddledome, has outscored its opponents 16-8 in its last three at home.
“These points are huge, especially early in the season,” said Bourque, who has five goals and a team-leading 14 points. “It’s going to be a long climb for some teams that are starting out slowly.”
Calgary’s toughest division test likely awaits against the Avalanche, who finished at the bottom of the West last season but have emerged as the league’s biggest surprise by winning three in a row and earning at least one point in all but one game.
“It’s a good start,” first-year coach Joe Sacco told the Avalanche’s official Web site. “I’m proud of the effort we’ve given night-in and night-out. We have a long season to go, but we’re pleased with where we are as a team right now.”
The Flames, though, have won four in a row over Colorado in Calgary and are 5-0-2 at home over the Avalanche since the start of the 2007-08 season.
Bourque, who had a career-high 21 goals last season, has four in his last five games against Colorado. The veteran winger also has a goal and four of his team-leading nine assists in his last two games overall.
“He’s hard to get off the puck,” Dawes said of the 6-foot-2, 213 pound Bourque. “He’s a great skater. He gets in there on the forecheck and when he gets the puck, he’s got the long stick and a quick release. Obviously he’s a playmaker as well.”
Calgary’s Miikka Kiprusoff(notes) is 16-11-3 with one tie and a 2.71 goals-against average against the Avalanche. He went 4-1-0 with a 1.81 GAA and two of his four shutouts versus Colorado last season.
Kiprusoff, 7-1-1 with a 3.10 GAA, made 23 saves Saturday for his third straight victory.
Colorado opened a four-game road trip with a 3-0 win over the Oilers on Tuesday. Wojtek Wolski(notes) scored twice to raise his team-leading goal total to seven and Craig Anderson(notes) made 25 saves for his second shutout.
Anderson, a backup over his previous six seasons with Chicago and Florida, leads the league with nine victories and has a 1.97 GAA while playing every game to extend a franchise record for consecutive starts to begin season and for wins in October.
“He’s been very solid so far,” Sacco said of Anderson, who could be back in net despite an 0-2-0 record with a 3.41 GAA against Calgary. “Craig has given us a chance to win every game and that’s all you can ask out of your goaltender.”
Earlier on Tuesday, Colorado announced that backup goalie Peter Budaj(notes) is out with the swine flu. He’s being replaced by rookie Tyler Weiman(notes), who hasn’t played since making his debut during the 2007-08 season for the Avalanche.