Anderson made 34 saves Tuesday night as the Avs rebounded from an 8-2 home loss to Vancouver by beating the Flames 3-2 at the Pengrowth Saddledome. Anderson got plenty of help from his teammates -- the victory margin may have been the army of legs and sticks that helped block 24 Calgary shots.
"We've been doing that pretty consistently throughout the year," noted Colorado coach Joe Sacco, whose club entered the game second in the NHL in blocked shots. "Guys like Brett Clark and (Adam Foote) and (Scott) Hannan — those guys block shots all the time. They always sacrifice their body to try and help the team. We knew how important this game was tonight."
With their second straight 3-2 victory in Calgary this season, the Avs (13-5-3) moved three points ahead of the Flames (12-5-2) in the battle for top spot in the Northwest Division. Colorado plays in Edmonton against the Oilers on Wednesday night, while the Flames are next in action Thursday when they host the Chicago Blackhawks.
Anderson rebounded from a poor night against the Canucks -- he was pulled after giving up four goals in two periods -- to earn his 12th victory, tying him for the League lead. And perhaps no one in the building was more aware of those 24 blocked shots -- five by Clark and three apiece from defensemen Hannan, Kyle Quincey, Kyle Cumiskey and Ryan Wilson. The Avs' defensive corps had also been forced to work overtime, reduced to five after Foote left the game in the first period due to an injury.
"Any time you get some help from your forwards and defense keeping the puck from getting to the net, and preventing extra whacks at it, that makes my job a lot easier," said Anderson. "I can't stress that enough."
Anderson made his best save with three minutes remaining to preserve the win, closing his pads to deny Olli Jokinen on the doorstep after a beautiful feed from Curtis Glencross, then wedging his pad against the post to stop Jokinen's rebound.
"He certainly made a couple of key saves for us down the stretch there, when we were back a little bit on our heels," Sacco said. "That's what you need from your goaltender at that time."
Milan Hejduk was credited with the winning goal late in the second period — a goal that capped a wild 1:48 of play that saw the Flames go ahead and the Avs pull even before taking the lead for good.
Rene Bourque gave the Flames what would be a very short-lived 2-1 lead with a pretty shorthanded goal at 17:18. Quincey broke his stick while in the act of shooting at the right point, allowing Calgary's Dustin Boyd to break out the other way. The Flames came down 3-on-2, with Jay Bouwmeester feeding Bourque for a high snap shot past Anderson's glove.
Just 1:06 after that, with Robyn Regehr in the box for cross-checking, Hejduk threaded a pass across the crease that hit Bouwmeester's skate and deflected into the net. The play was reviewed, but the goal was awarded to Hejduk — his eighth goal of the season and fifth on the power play.
"We gave up those two goals there at the end of the second, just when we were starting to get going," Calgary coach Brent Sutter said. "The second (Colorado) goal was a terrible goal to give up, and then we take a penalty right after and they score on the power play.
"When you're playing a game like we were tonight, against a divisional team, playing for first place in your division, you'd like to think that mentally you can overcome mistakes. I thought we lacked emotion here tonight. I don't want to use the word tentative . . . but it was almost like we were afraid to make a mistake. And when you play that way, you make 'em, unfortunately."
Wilson, playing his 10th career NHL game, scored his first NHL goal eight minutes into the game, swooping in on a loose puck during a scramble and burying a high backhander.
Flames captain Jarome Iginla tied it at 11:39 of the second. Iginla flipped the puck up the boards to Curtis Glencross, skated to the high slot, took the return pass, and fired a one-timer past Anderson's glove for his 12th goal of the season.
Glencross returned to action after serving a three-game league suspension for his blindside hit on New York Rangers captain Chris Drury on Nov. 7.
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