DENVER, CO -- Bob Hartley said in the morning skate he was looking forward to seeing who would step up as crunch time in Calgary Flames training camp nears.
Michael Ferland heard the message.
Ferland had two goals to lift the Calgary Flames to a 2-1 win over the Colorado Avalanche on Sunday.
The 22-year-old went nine months between games after knee surgery ended his 2013-14 season last December, halting a streak of six goals and 18 points in his previous 14 games before sustaining the injury.
He didn’t wait long to make an impact against the Avalanche, either.
Inside the Colorado blue line, Josh Jooris chipped the puck up to a streaking Ferland, who stepped around Jan Hejda before deking goaltender Semyon Varlamov and lifting a backhand into the net to give Calgary a 1-0 lead at 6:57.
Karri Ramo took over from there, robbing Matt Duchene with a sprawling pad save with Raphael Diaz in the penalty box for interference near the midway mark of the frame for one of his 13 saves in the period. He got some help from the post in the dying seconds of the opening period too when Alex Tanguay found the iron with just 1.3 seconds remaining.
Ryan O’Reilly got the goal back early in the second period, taking a feed from Tanguay before stepping around Ryan Culkin and placing a shot just inside the post and behind Ramo to tie the game 1-1 at 3:51.
But just 1:09 later, Ferland added his second of the night, wrapping a rebound on a Diaz point shot behind Varlamov to restore Calgary’s one-goal lead.
Ramo, who stopped 22 of 23 shots faced, gave way to Joni Ortio in the third period. He was promptly greeted by a shot off the post from Andrew Agozzino.
It was followed by Joe Colborne’s dangle through the slot before letting off a backhand that Varlamov had trouble with, but the Avalanche goaltender quickly gobbled up the point shot that followed from Diaz at the midway mark of the final frame.
Ortio responded with his best save of the period, robbing Colorado forward Borna Rendulic from the slot just two minutes later. Former Flames captain Jarome Iginla tried to stuff in a loose puck at the side of the net with 4:05 remaining as part of a 13 save 20-minute workload to preserve the win.