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Flames 2 Avalanche 3: Inside the Game

by Staff Writer / Calgary Flames

INSIDE THE GAME

GAME AT A GLANCE: It was the first meeting in a long time between the Calgary Flames and Northwest Division rivals, the Colorado Avalanche. So long in fact, these two teams haven't seen the likes of one another since Nov. 24 when the Flames devoured the Avs 5-2 at Denver's Pepsi Center. The last time they met at the Pengrowth Saddledome was only days earlier, with the Flames beating the Avs 4-1 on Nov. 20.

While the Flames entered the game looking for their fifth straight win, the Avs had something different in mind - start winning and get back in the race for the playoffs.

With both teams eager to renew their rivalry, fans knew going in it was going to be a heated physical battle against the Avs -- and it was, but it wasn't in the Flames favour as the Avs went on to beat them 3-2 in overtime.

Colorado's Ryan Smyth opened the scoring 4:08 into the first on a fierce backhand shot that bounced off of the glove of netminder Miikka Kiprusoff, who thought the puck deflected off the post and not on net. But once the Colorado celebrations began, he knew he was mistaken. Marek Svatos and Liles had the assists.

Eric Godard and Scott Parker drop the gloves and both get a couple blows in until Godard loses his footing and drops to the ice. The match doesn't get too heated, as Parker is seen patting Godard on the head after the Calgary forward picks himself up off the ice.

Flames' Dustin Boyd ties the game at one, after a smooth cross ice pass from fellow teammate Owen Nolan. Boyd waits left of Colorado netminder Jose Theodore and wrists the puck into the wide open net before Theodore can get over to make the save. Matthew Lombardi also added a helper.

Liles appears to take a Dion Phaneuf one-timer off the leg, dropping him to the ice. The Avs' defenceman is helped off the ice, but returns later in the period.

Still looking for the go-ahead goal, Matthew Lombardi rings a quick shot off the goal post 10:23 in the middle frame.

Kristian Huselius is also robbed by the goal post when his nifty backhand move deflects off the Avs net and back into play at 12:39.

After back-to-back shots off the goal post, the Flames finally get one up on the opposition when Calgary's Robyn Regehr scores shorthanded at 12:58 to give the Flames their first lead of the game. Regehr releases a long shot just past the blueline and a lucky bounce off of Colorado's Scott Hannan's skate puts the puck into the wide open net.

Just when things were going Calgary's way, David Hale was sent to the box for tripping 13:17 into the third, which sent Colorado out onto the man-advantage. Milan Hejduk tied the game at two, forcing it into overtime, with a wrist shot that the forward wired past the Flames' netminder at 13:33.

Jarome Iginla takes a tripping penalty 1:37 into overtime, forcing the Flames out on the penalty kill, and with their captain out of play the Flames have to come up big moves. They appear to be doing a good job at keeping the puck away from Kiprusoff, until Paul Stastny fires a wrister on a move that pulled Kiprusoff too far right, giving the forward the wide open net. Ryan Smyth had the lone helper.

Obviously upset with the call, Iginla figures the call late period call was a little one sided, as the Avs should have been called for diving on the play.

"I think my hand is on his hip and he dives; usually it's both ways, but he didn't see it that way tonight," Iginla says of the call.

"I thought we were going good, but they got two late power play goals They were a desperate hockey club, and I thought we matched it. There were a lot of good things, but the power play goals were the difference."

THE BIG SAVE: Miikka Kiprusoff on his toes tonight and again is absolutely stellar between the posts as he makes a number of huge saves for the Calgary club. One of his biggest by far had to be on a play that saw him stretch from one side of the net to the other in a matter of seconds. Both John-Michael Liles and Paul Stastny take shots on the Flames' netminder within two seconds of one another, but it's Stastny's that is dangerous for Kiprusoff as he has to slide his body across and when on his back get his glove on the flying saucer. The save on Stastny comes at 14:25 of the second.
THE BIG HITS: Avs' blueliner John-Michael Liles and Flames' forward Mark Smith race after the loose puck just behind the Colorado net, when Calgary's Eric Godard appears out of nowhere and hammers his body into Liles, knocking the Colorado defenceman to the ice and stunning him momentarily 13:25 into the opening frame.

THE TURNING POINT: Seconds after David Hale is sent to the box for tripping, the Avs capitalize on the play and tie the game at two with a wrister courtesy of Colorado forward Milan Hejduk. The goal comes 13:33 in the third and ends up forcing, what was a game in Calgary's favour, into overtime.

QUOTABLE: "Penalties are part of the game. Sometime you get the calls and sometimes you don't, but you have to kill those penalties." --- Defenceman Dion Phaneuf, following the overtime loss.

THE ROSTER: The Flames healthy scratches were D Anders Eriksson and D Rhett Warrener. F Alex Tanguay is out with an injury.

WORTH NOTING: With Alex Tanguay out of the lineup, Marcus Nilson suited up along side Craig Conroy and Owen Nolan...It was Avalanche captain Joe Sakic's second game back since injuring his leg December 1. Sakic missed a total of 38 games in that time span...The Flames are now 2-1-2-1 against the Avs with one home and one away game remaining in the 2007-08 regular season.

BY THE NUMBERS: Robyn Regehr tallies his first NHL short-handed goal tonight...Cory Sarich plays in his 600th career NHL game...Dustin Boyd tallies his six goal this season...Ryan Smyth and Paul Stastny both register a goal and an assist...The Avs had 34 shots on net, while the Flames had 29...Jarome Iginla led the team with six shots on goal...Newly acquired defenceman Jim Vandermeer had three blocked shots.
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