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Avs Knew Flames Would Be a Challenge

by Scott Ward / Colorado Avalanche

The Avalanche knew Monday night’s game against Calgary wasn’t going to be easy.

Colorado was coming off three straight wins, had just pulled out an emotional victory Saturday against San Jose, and the Flames were 1-4-0 in their previous five games, with the four losses all coming consecutively at home.

But Calgary had played the Avs close in the teams’ two previous meetings this season, with Colorado winning 4-2 on Nov. 8 at Pepsi Center and 3-2 on Dec. 6 at Scotiabank Saddledome.

“If we think we’re going to have an easy game, we’re wrong,” Avalanche coach Patrick Roy said Monday morning.

He was right.

Mike Cammalleri put the Flames (15-21-6) on top for good with 3:30 remaining in the third period, when he threw a power-play one-timer past Avalanche netminder Jean-Sebastien Giguere.

The Avalanche (26-12-4) was a man down after being called for having too many men on the ice with 4:54 left in the third. The substitution miscue was costly, and the Avs lost in regulation for this first time on this season-long, seven-game homestand.

“Those things happen, I guess,” Roy said afterward. “There were too many men—it was a bad change by us, and they took advantage to make it 4-3.

“I thought tonight that was a game that should finish 2-1 for us. We should not have given up more than one goal tonight. [Calgary] just put pucks at the net, and they went through. That’s it. To me, they were not dangerous shots.”

Paul Stastny tied the game at 3-3 with 10:27 remaining in the third period with a spin and slip move in front of the crease that got the puck between Calgary goaltender Karri Remo’s pads.

Earlier, Nathan MacKinnon answered an early score from Calgary with a goal at 7:17 of the first, and he put Colorado ahead 2-1 a little more than seven minutes later with a quick slap shot from the slot.

It was his second straight two-goal game and gives him seven goals and eight points in his past seven games.

He is the first NHL player to post back-to-back multi-goal games as an 18-year-old since teammate Matt Duchene did it from Nov. 30 to Dec. 2, 2009. He is only the third Avalanche rookie to post back-to-back multi-goal games, joining Duchene (Nov. 30 - Dec. 2, 2009) and T.J. Hensick (Feb. 2-4, 2008).

“Nate scored two nice goals,” Roy said. “He went to the net on the first one, and the second one he took a slot chance, which it was a great shot, and it went in. I thought he had a good game. He did a lot of good things.”

MacKinnon’s night was marred toward the end when he was hit in the foot with a puck. Roy said MacKinnon was scheduled for X-rays later Monday night, and the team would likely know more Tuesday.

Giguere, now 7-4-0 but the loser in three straight, allowed Calgary’s four goals, while making 15 saves.

“I think Jiggy should have played better tonight,” Roy said. “We’re not going to look at our team. We might not have had the jump that we should have, but Jiggy needs to be better. He hasn’t played well in the past four or five games.

“He needs to be better, and we need to have him playing better.”

MacKinnon’s first goal came from just outside the crease off a spin move slightly reminiscent of Duchene. Stastny fed him from the left face-off circle, and he received it on his right side, with his back to the goal.

He quickly spun to his right, to bring the puck back to his forehand side, and pushed it to Ramo’s right. The shot initially met padding but trickled across to tie the game 1-1.

MacKinnon’s second goal came 7:15 later in the first period from the middle of the slot. Tyson Barrie pushed the puck to Stastny, this time in the right circle, and he slapped it to MacKinnon.

A wind and blast later, and the Avs led 2-1.

Both MacKinnon’s scores came on the Avalanche power play, adding to his team-leading tally (seven) with the man-advantage.


Defenseman Ryan Wilson has been sent to AHL-affiliate Lake Erie for a 14-day stint so he can continue to work on his conditioning.

Ryan Wilson 

Wilson missed all but 12 games last season because of an ankle injury and began this season on Injured Reserve with a knee injury. He missed the Avalanche’s first four regular-season games before suffering a back injury Nov. 6 vs. Nashville that shelved him for 16 games and landed him again on IR.

He was activated Dec. 14 and returned to the Avalanche lineup Dec. 27 at Chicago. He skated against the Blackhawks and again last week against Winnipeg and Columbus before sitting the past two games.

“We sat down with him, and I suggested it might be good for him to play five games [with Lake Erie],” Roy said. “He’s going to practice with them the entire week, starting tomorrow, and then after he’s going to play [three games in three days], and then he’s going to play two more, and then he’s going to come back on Jan. 19.”

Nate Guenin, who took a puck to the ankle Saturday against San Jose, didn’t skate against the Flames, and Tyson Barrie was in the Avs lineup after being a healthy scratch the past two games.

“We’re going to stay as we are,” Roy said. “We’re not going to call up anybody. I think Guenin is a day-to-day anyway, knowing Nate.”


- Colorado suffered its first regulation loss at home since Dec. 10 vs. Phoenix, snapping a streak of seven straight home games with a point (5-0-2). That was the club's longest streak without a regulation loss at home since it went 8-0-0 from Nov. 30 to Dec. 23, 2011.

- Avalanche captain Gabriel Landeskog assisted on Stastny’s score for his 100th career point and extended his point streak to seven games (three goals, five assists), a new career high. It’s the longest point streak by an Avalanche player since early December 2010, when Kevin Shattenkirk had a nine-game streak, and Milan Hejduk had a seven-game streak.

- Avalanche defenseman Andre Benoit turned 30 Monday and assisted on MacKinnon’s first goal. He was born Jan. 6, 1984. He joined the Avs as a free agent in July and ranks second on the team in defensemen scoring (15 points).

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