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Sakic, Avs Stay Alive In Playoff Race

by Staff Writer / Colorado Avalanche
CALGARY, Alberta (AP) - Joe Sakic scored once and assisted on Colorado's other three goals as the Avalanche kept their playoff chances alive with a 4-3 victory over Calgary on Tuesday night, snapping the Flames' six-game winning streak.

Colorado rookie Paul Stastny scored the go-ahead goal at 14:38 of the second period as the Avalanche took advantage of a lengthy two-man advantage.

Sakic's shot hit Andrew Brunette and caromed to Stastny alone at the side of the net and with Miikka Kiprusoff trapped out of position. The rookie fired in his 27th goal of the season to break a 2-2 tie.

Sakic got what turned out to be the winning goal at 14:31 of the third when his team-leading 35th goal of the season from off the wing put Colorado ahead 4-2.

Daymond Langkow got Calgary back within one with a power-play goal at 17:21, but the Avalanche and goaltender Peter Budaj hung on for the victory.

Colorado pulled within five points of the eighth-place Flames in the Western Conference with each team having three games left to play. The teams meet in Denver on Sunday, the last day of the regular season.

Brett Clark and Brad Richardson also scored for Colorado. The Avalanche are the NHL's hottest team with points in 15 of their past 16 games (13-1-2).
Jeff Friesen and Roman Hamrlik scored the other goals for Calgary. The Flames lost at home for just the eighth time this season.

Budaj made 18 saves and is unbeaten in regulation in his past 14 games (12-0-2).

The Avalanche tied it 2-2 at 12:02 of the second when Sakic carried the puck into the Flames zone and from the boards, centered a pass that Richardson deflected into the top corner.

Hamrlik put the Flames ahead 2-1 seven minutes into the second on a nice set up by former Avalanche forward Alex Tanguay. Jarome Iginla slipped the puck ahead to Tanguay cutting toward the goal, and Tanguay slipped the puck back into the slot where an uncovered Hamrlik charged in and sent a one-timer past Budaj.

The Flames took a 1-0 lead at 18:33 of the first period, turning a mistake by Budaj into their 15th short-handed goal of the season. Budaj was unable to control a 130-foot shot on goal, and the puck bounced into the slot where Friesen raced in and one-timed a slap shot into the top corner.

Still on the power play, Colorado tied it with 12 seconds left in the period when Clark's shot from the blue line deflected off Friesen and squirted through Kiprusoff's pads.

Notes Sakic's goal was his 609th of his career, moving past Dino Ciccarelli into 15th spot on the goal-scoring list... Returning to the Calgary lineup was rookie LW David Moss and D Dion Phaneuf ... Iginla picked up his 338th and 339th assists, moving him past Gary Suter and into third place on the Flames' list. Iginla trails Theo Fleury (460) and Al MacInnis (609).
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