CALGARY - It took him seven games, but Paul Stastny found the perfect time to score his first two goals of the season.
With the score deadlocked at 3-3 late in the third period, Stastny scored the winner on a power play and then added an insurance goal to lead the Colorado Avalanche to a 6-3 win over the Calgary Flames on Thursday.
"Sometimes you've just got to take it to the net and get ugly goals," said Stastny, while noting he enjoys playing in Calgary at the Scotiabank Saddledome. "We know what kind of atmosphere it is here. It's always tough to play in. That's what makes it fun. I like playing in this building. I like playing these guys."
With Flames defenceman Mark Giordano in the penalty box for tripping, Stastny scored on an unassisted wraparound with 2:40 left in regulation.
Stastny added his second of game the 89 seconds later, before P.A. Parenteau scored into an empty net.
"I think Paul can hopefully relax a little bit now and just play his game," said Colorado coach Joe Sacco. "It was just a matter of time before Paul got going. It's big for our team.
"We need Paul going offensively for our team."
"Credit to the guys, they stuck with it for 60 minutes tonight," Sacco said. "We had played last night (a 3-0 loss in Vancouver to the Canucks). I thought we found some good energy there in the third period which was nice to see. It's a big win for us."
In his first start of the season for the Avalanche, Jean-Sebastien Giguere stopped 25-of-28 shots to pick up the win.
"It felt good," Giguere said. "It's been a long time since I played. All I wanted was to play a simple game, try to give the team a chance. Fortunately at the end, we found a way to get a big (penalty) kill and get some big goals. I thought we had a pretty strong game as a team."
Jiri Hudler had two goals and an assist in a losing cause for the Flames (1-3-1), who hadn't played since Saturday's 4-3 home win over Edmonton. Alex Tanguay had the other goal for the Flames, while Matt Stajan added two assists.
"Definitely a lost opportunity for us," Stajan said. "That's unacceptable on our behalf. That's a chance where we can jump on a team that's struggling, that's played a lot of hockey.
"We've got to take a look in the mirror tonight — all of us — and make sure we learn to bear down in these games because these are the points that matter at the end of the year."
Calgary captain Jarome Iginla agreed with Stajan's assessment.
"We know we blew one tonight and it's not going to sit well with us, and it shouldn't," Iginla said. "We've got to get right back at it and start climbing because now we're going to start playing every second day. We've got to finish this homestand off properly and build it in the right direction again. "
Miikka Kiprusoff made 16 saves in the Calgary net to take the loss.
Hudler opened the scoring at 7:23 of the first period with his first of the season and first as a member of the Flames. Hudler set up the initial scoring chance when he feathered a pass into the slot that Stajan one-timed on net. Hudler the pounced on the rebound and swatted the puck past Giguere.
Tim Jackman nearly put the Flames up by a pair during a hard-working shift later in the first period. After being denied by Giguere on his first attempt, Jackman then tipped a shot off the post that trickled wide.
With just 47 seconds left in the first period, Mitchell intercepted a clearing attempt by Chris Butler before skating towards the slot and snapping a shot past Kiprusoff to tie the game.
The Flames then went up 2-1 early in the second period when Hudler finished off a nice three-way passing play with Stajan and Roman Cervenka. For Cervenka, it was his first NHL point after signing a free-agent deal with the Flames in the off-season.
After Parenteau backhanded a shot through Kiprusoff's legs, Mitchell put the Avs up 3-2 when he converted a feed from Chuck Kobasew at 16:58 for his second of the game.
But with just 18 seconds left in the period, Tanguay wired a touch pass from Hudler past Giguere to tie the game at 3-3 heading to the third.
Notes: After finishing off a season-long, four-game road trip, the Avs will play their next four games at home starting on Saturday against Edmonton. ... The Flames have played four of their first five games at home. After hosting the Chicago Blackhawks at the Scotiabank Saddledome on Saturday, Calgary will embark on a three-game road trip starting in Detroit against the Red Wings on Tuesday. ... Heading into the game, Calgary had beaten Colorado in four of the previous five games at the Saddledome.
|Back to top|