Here are five things to watch for when Colorado (3-1-0) hosts Cal­gary (2-2-0):

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1. Match­ing Mats?

Mack­in­non is rid­ing a four-game goal-scor­ing streak and can log his name in the club his­tory books with a snipe against the Flames. The fran­chise record for the long­est lamp­light­ing streak to start a new sea­son is five, set by Hockey Hall of Famer Mats Sundin back in the Que­bec Nordiques era.

2. Back­lund banged up?

Flames cen­tre Mikael Back­lund was M.I.A. for Fri­day ’s prac­tice in the Mile High City, with bench boss Bill Peters char­ac­ter­iz­ing it as a “main­te­nance day ” and telling re­porters he is op­ti­mistic No. 11 will be ready to roll against the Avalanche. It’s not a sure thing, though. If Back­lund is out, Mark Jankowski would re­turn to the lineup.

3. Home on a high note?

The flight home al­ways seems a lit­tle smoother af­ter a vic­tory. The Flames ac­com­plished a whole lot of good in Tues­day’s 3-0 shutout of the Nashville Preda­tors, then stunk for the first half-hour of ac­tion in St. Louis. If they can claim points in Colorado, con­sider this road trip a suc­cess.

4. First of many?

Free-agent sign­ings James Neal and Derek Ryan both tick­led twine against the Blues, each scor­ing their first in the Flam­ing C. The crew from Cal­gary needs more of that, es­pe­cially from the 31-year-old Neal. Thurs­day was also a mem­o­rable night for rookie Dil­lon Dube, who earned his first NHL point with an as­sist on Neal’s notch.

5. Go­ing streak­ing

Mack­in­non isn’t the only guy on an of­fen­sive tear for the Avalanche. His left­winger, Mikko Ran­ta­nen, has hit the score­sheet in ev­ery con­test and tops the team with seven points. Alexan­der Ker­foot and Carl Soder­berg are also en­joy­ing four-game heaters. wgilbert­son@post­media.com

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