John-Michael Liles was held off the score sheet tonight, ending his season-opening nine-game assist/point streak. Liles’ streak set an NHL record for the longest assist streak by a defenseman to begin a season and made him the first blueliner with points in each of his team’s first nine games of a season since Chicago’s Doug Wilson opened the 1981-82 campaign with a 10-game point streak.
While Liles’ streak came to a halt tonight, forwards Chris Stewart and Milan Hejduk
continued their strong recent play.
Stewart was the star of the night for the Avalanche, as the third-year forward recorded the second hat trick of his young career.
The right winger notched his sixth goal of the season when he knocked home a Paul Stastny
feed from just outside of Calgary netminder Henrik Karlsson’s crease during an Avalanche power play. It was Stewart’s third power-play marker of the season, matching his total from the 2009-10 campaign.
He then added a pair of tallies 29 seconds apart late in the middle frame to complete the hat trick.
The first came after Ryan O’Reilly won a battle along the halfwall and fed Stewart for a breakaway. Less than half a minute later, he blasted a shot past Karlsson from the right circle for his third goal of the evening.
For a point of reference, the franchise record for the fastest two goals by one player is nine seconds, set by Jon Klemm on Oct. 17, 1997 at Calgary.
With his three-goal night, Stewart extended his point streak to seven games (7g/5a). He now leads the Avalanche in both goals (8) and points (14).
Hejduk assisted on Stewart’s first goal, marking the fifth straight contest the veteran has recorded a point. During his streak, Hejduk has totaled nine points (3g/6a). Keeping It Close
It shouldn’t have come as a surprise that Thursday’s game was decided by one goal.
Each of the six meetings between the teams last season ended up being one-goal games, with the first five finishing in 3-2 final scores (the Avs took four of those decisions) and the final one ending in a 2-1 Calgary victory.
Going back to the 2008-09 season, the sixth and final meeting between the clubs ended in a 4-3 Colorado victory. That means you have to go back to Jan. 18, 2008 to find a game between the Flames and Avalanche that had a final spread of more than one tally, as that contest ended in a 6-2 Colorado triumph at Pepsi Center.Liffiton Debuts For AvsAvalanche head coach Joe Sacco
elected to suit up seven defensemen against the Flames, which led to David Liffiton
making his Avalanche debut.
Liffiton was originally Colorado’s first selection (second round, 63rd overall) in the 2003 Entry Draft. The Avalanche traded Liffiton to the New York Rangers with Chris McAllister and a second-round draft choice in exchange for Matthew Barnaby and a third-round draft pick on March 8, 2004. Colorado then signed Liffiton as a free agent on July 2, 2010.
The Windsor, Ontario native had played in three NHL games (all with the New York Rangers) prior to tonight’s contest, with one coming in 2005-06 and the other two in 2006-07.
Liffiton didn’t take long to get in the boxscore, as he dropped the gloves with Calgary enforcer Tim Jackman on his first shift.
Overall, Liffiton held a +1 plus/minus rating in 3:43 of ice time.Notes
Peter Budaj played in his 200th NHL game tonight…Budaj ranks third in franchise history in games played by a goaltender, trailing Patrick Roy (478) and Dan Bouchard (225)…Rookie defenseman Jonas Holos
picked up his first career NHL point when he assisted on T.J. Galiardi’s goal in the third period…Daniel Winnik’s game-winning goal was his fourth of the season, matching his total in 74 games with the Phoenix Coyotes last season.