December 04, 2014

The Colorado Avalanche are making a concerted effort to avoid watching the scoreboard and checking the standings as they try to make the playoffs.

The Avalanche continue a four-game trip through Canada on Friday night against the Calgary Flames.

Battling Minnesota for the final wild-card spot in the Western Conference, Colorado (36-31-4) snapped a three-game road skid and improved to 1-1-0 on the trek with Wednesday's 3-1 victory over Vancouver.

"Right now, we're not looking at the standings anymore," goaltender Semyon Varlamov told the Avalanche's official website. "We just need to win our games. ... I can tell you it's up to us."

Coach Patrick Roy is pushing his team to concentrate only on what it can control.

"We did what we had to do (Wednesday)," Roy said. "Now we're going to have to refocus for Calgary. That's what good teams (do). Good teams are capable of refocusing and getting their game ready for the next challenge."

The Avs have split the first two meetings with the Flames (30-35-5), both at home, falling 4-0 in the most recent Jan. 2. Colorado dropped both games at the Saddledome last season.

"I feel like playoffs starts for us right now, and it's going to be interesting," Varlamov said. "I'm looking forward to playing against Calgary. It's going to be another big one."

After making 22 saves in a 6-3 win over the Flames on Nov. 3, Varlamov was pulled after allowing four goals on 19 shots in January. He's posted a 1.26 goals-against average while winning three of his last four.

Ex-Flame Jarome Iginla has 17 points in 18 games, and had two goals and an assist in the teams' first meeting. He does not have a point in three games at Calgary since leaving the club in March 2013.

The Flames improved to 3-1-1 on a six-game homestand by beating Winnipeg 4-1 on Wednesday, giving them back-to-back victories at the Saddledome for the first time since an 11-game run Nov. 5-Dec. 27.

"We said in the room here that we want to finish strong," forward Michael Frolik told the NHL's official website. "Every game, we want to play hard, we want to be on the puck. Every shift, we want to play very hard.

"I think we were doing that the last couple of games and just want to carry on that in the rest of the season."

After recording a hat trick in Monday's 7-4 win over St. Louis, Frolik had a goal and two assists against the Jets. Frolik's linemates Mikael Backlund has four goals and four assists in seven games and Joe Colborne has four and two in six.

"It's fun playing with those two," Colborne said. "When you're on a line with two guys that are going like that, it's a lot of fun. I think we're just three similar guys."

Calgary is likely to be without Dennis Wideman after the veteran defenseman suffered an upper-body injury in a collision with Colborne on Wednesday. It was Wideman's third game since returning from a 19-game suspension for cross-checking linesman Don Henderson.

Colorado captain Gabriel Landeskog is serving the finale of his three-game ban for a hit on Anaheim's Simon Despres last week.

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