The Calgary Flames could point to their last two games as the reason they’re currently on the outside of the playoff picture in the Western Conference.
They could also blame their performance this season against the Colorado Avalanche.
The Avalanche can improve to 5-0-0 against their Northwest Division rivals and notch their fourth consecutive win overall as the desperate Flames visit the Pepsi Center on Wednesday night.
A four-game winning streak earlier this month helped Calgary (34-26-9) briefly take control of eighth place in the West, but the Flames have slipped back out of postseason position after totaling two goals in back-to-back losses.
Sunday’s 3-1 defeat at Northwest Division-leading Vancouver wasn’t as crucial for the Flames as their 2-1 home loss Monday to Detroit, which has moved three points ahead of Calgary in the standings.
“I hope there’s some guys disappointed in there. There better be,” Calgary coach Brent Sutter said. “We found ways to lose two games here when we need to find ways to win games.”
The Flames’ offense, which ranks among the worst in the NHL with 2.48 goals per game, has not gotten any help from its power play, which is 0 for 13 in the last four games.
Calgary had a four-minute power play while tied with the Red Wings in the third period, but managed just two shots.
“You’d like to find ways to get a goal, but also get scoring chances and keep momentum, so that was definitely a missed opportunity,” said Flames captain Jarome Iginla(notes), who leads Calgary with 64 points but has none in three consecutive contests.
Colorado has held Iginla without a point in the teams’ last two meetings, with the Avalanche extending their winning streak over Calgary to six.
The only point the Flames have earned against Colorado this season came in their 2-1 shootout loss in the most recent meeting Jan. 11. The Avalanche’s Craig Anderson(notes) made 44 saves and stopped two of three attempts in the tiebreaker to improve to 4-0-0 with a 1.96 goals-against average against Calgary this season.
“We show up every time we play (the Flames),” Avalanche forward Chris Stewart(notes) said following that game. “Every time we play them we have a little bad taste in our mouth. It’s a four-point (swing) and these are the points that are going to count later on, down the stretch.”
Stewart’s words seem prescient now that Colorado has a nine-point lead on the Flames.
The Avalanche (40-23-6) finished last in the West last season, but are now in fifth place following their third consecutive victory, 5-3 at St. Louis on Tuesday.
Center Paul Stastny(notes) had his fifth goal in his last three games and added two assists, while newcomer Peter Mueller(notes) two goals and an assist, giving him at least one point in all seven games with Colorado acquiring him from Phoenix on March 3.
Mueller has four goals and seven assists in that stretch after totaling 17 points in 54 games with the Coyotes.
“It’s amazing what happens when you get a chance,” Mueller said. “It’s one of those things where I wanted to come in here and show that I can contribute.”
Colorado, which has totaled 24 goals in its last five games, used its latest offensive outburst in support of backup goaltender Peter Budaj(notes), meaning Anderson should be back in net Wednesday. He had started 23 straight games before Tuesday.