CALGARY -- The Calgary Flames took another step forward Monday in their bid to earn a place in the Stanley Cup Playoffs for the first time since 2009.
David Jones and Jiri Hudler also scored for the Flames (40-27-6), who are two points ahead of the Los Angeles Kings for third place in the Pacific Division. The Kings, who defeated the New Jersey Devils 3-1, have one game in hand. Calgary's remaining nine regular-season games are against Western Conference opponents, including five against teams that are within eight points of the Flames.
"Huge, obviously," Bouma said. "Everyone knows the standings. They're so tight. It'll be tight right to the end there. We have to take care of our own games and not worry about the other teams. We've just got to keep going here. We've just got to take care of business and worry about ourselves. If we get some help along the way, it's nice, but we can't rely on that, that's for sure."
Flames goalie Karri Ramo made 25 saves.
Alex Tanguay and Gabriel Landeskog scored for the Avalanche (33-27-12), who are 10 points behind the Winnipeg Jets for the second wild card into the playoffs from the West. Colorado has 10 games remaining, including a back-to-back set against the Edmonton Oilers and Vancouver Canucks starting Wednesday to conclude its five-game road trip.
"We want good habits," Avalanche coach Patrick Roy said. "We want to make sure that it will prepare us for next year. At the same time it's a learning process for our team. I think we'll grow from that experience. We're going to continue to work the way we want and continue to play the same way. You never know. I will never say 'never.'"
Hudler broke a 1-1 tie with 16 seconds remaining in the first period and extended his career high in goals to 27. Sean Monahan won a faceoff back to Dennis Wideman, whose shot deflected off Hudler's skate and behind Avalanche goalie Semyon Varlamov.
The Flames held on to their 2-1 lead through the second period thanks in part to two Avalanche shot attempts that hit the goal post.
TJ Brodie couldn't swat down a clearing attempt, springing Jarome Iginla on a 2-on-1, but John Mitchell hit the outside of the far post near the midway point of the period. A shift later, Tyson Barrie's attempt struck the post.
"Obviously the difference in that game is the goal they score late in that first period, and then the chances we missed in the second period," Roy said. "We had a lot of good chances and we just didn't score any goals to tie the game."
Varlamov kept Colorado within one at 5:55 of the third period, making a blocker save off Brandon Bollig in the slot, but at 8:40, Bouma knocked down Brodie's high shot from the point between Varlamov's legs to put Calgary up 3-1.
"[Brodie] made a great play right off my stick," Bouma said. "I didn't do much there. That's something we stress here, is getting to the front of the net. We want traffic in front of their goalie. He's a great goalie, and any goalie in this league is good if he gets the chance to see the shot. We try to get bodies there, and it worked out."
The Avalanche pulled back to within one at 10:46. Controlling the play in the Flames end, Ryan O'Reilly misfired on a one-timer but corralled the puck in time to feed Landeskog, who placed a sharp-angled shot over Ramo's shoulder.
Colorado was unable to tie the game after Varlamov went to the bench in favor of the extra attacker with 1:48 remaining.
The Flames opened the scoring for the third straight game.
After Ramo made a diving save with his paddle on Landeskog's wraparound attempt, Bouma hauled the puck up ice on a 2-on-1 and fed Jones, who beat Varlamov over the glove at 6:18.
"That definitely brings the air out of their sails a little bit," Jones said. "They were buzzing on that shift. They got just a little over-antsy. It looked like a guy just got caught. If it goes the other way, if we're down in their end and control the zone and they go down and score 2-on-1, it stings. It was a huge goal."
An odd-man rush led to the equalizer for Colorado. After Landeskog failed to convert on his pass, O'Reilly fished the puck off the end boards before it pinballed into the slot to Tanguay, who caught Ramo out of position at 17:46. It's the seventh time Tanguay's reached 20 goals in his career; he did so twice with the Flames.
"Obviously, the start of the year really hurt us," Tanguay said. "Now, we're probably going to need to win out or something like that in order to get ourselves in the playoffs."
Varlamov made 23 saves.