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Flames 2 Avs 1: Inside the Game

by Staff Writer / Calgary Flames

INSIDE THE GAME

FLAMES 2 AVALANCHE 1


GAME AT A GLANCE

Alive, well and kicking in the Northwest.

The Calgary Flames, coming off a disappointing 1-3-0 road trip, put together a solid defensive effort in a big game against a Northwest Division opponent they are neck-and-neck with in the playoff race with a 2-1 win over the visiting Colorado Avalanche.

Craig Conroy and Owen Nolan

First period goals courtesy of Craig Conroy and Daymond Langkow, both on the power play, got the offence going.

Throughout the ice, however, the Flames had support on the defensive side of the puck as they turned in one of their best defensive efforts in some time.

The Flames outshot the Avs in all three periods and 28-16 on the night.

The Avs pressured in the final 30 seconds of the game but, with a little more than a second left in the game, Conroy, who was terrific in the face-off circle all night, won the draw to give the Flames a much-needed two points and hand the Avs their third straight loss.

The win moves the Flames two points ahead of the Avs and to within a point of first place in the division, one behind Minnesota, setting up a big game on Saturday at the 'Dome between those two teams.

Post-Game with Mike Keenan 

Flames coaches were particularly pleased with the effort from the Wayne Primeau- Stephane Yelle - Matthew Lombardi line combination. Lombardi, on a couple of rushes, used his speed extremely effectively -- drawing a key penalty during a penalty kill in the first period.

“Well when he (Lombardi) was skating like he was tonight first of all as a penalty-killer and secondly he can draw penalties back for us because of his speed," said head coach Mike Keenan. "He demonstrated that well tonight and that’s what his speed means, he can draw penalties in a penalty-killing situation and probably as importantly, come up with offensive opportunities as well without risking anything defensively.”
 
“They’ve (Yelle-Lombardi-Primeau) been playing well for the past two weeks if not a little longer as a group of three," added Keenan of the line. "They’re supporting each other really well on the ice, they’re generating some offensive chances and I’m sure they would feel better if they could finish some of them off but they’re an effective line because they can check well and force the play in the offensive zone, which means time around the opposition net and also time out of our zone, which gives our defense crew some rest.”
 
The Avs, meanwhile, were disappointed in they couldn't generate offence against the Flames.

“Tonight was one of those games in the offensive zone we didn’t get the puck – wasn’t like the other game in Minnesota where we had the puck and generating and making plays – tonight it was pretty dry in generating scoring chances and making plays down in their end," said head coach Joel Quenneville.

THE BIG SAVE: Flames goalie Miikka Kiprusoff wasn't tested a lot early in the game but he made two dandy saves on Avs rookie David Jones. On one, Jones was set-up by Joe Sakic, looking for his 100oth career assist and Kiprusoff made a neat glove save to keep the Flames in front 2-0.
THE BIG HIT: It was more of a bump but when Ryan Smyth went to the net early in the third period he knocked Miikka Kiprusoff off just enough for Ben Guite to fire his 10th of the season and make the score 2-1.
THE TURNING POINT: The Flames kill off a Wayne Primeau penalty in the first period with ease against the NHL's worst road power play. A calm approach, particularly by Alex Tanguay, frustrates the visitors. The Flames go on the power play shortly after and capitalize to take a 2-0 lead.
QUOTABLE: "The true measure of this team will come over the next week and a half." -- Flames general manager Darryl Sutter in an interview with The Fan 960 after the second period as he looked ahead to the final weeks of the regular season.

THE ROSTER: The Flames scratches were D Rhett Warrener (ankle), D David Hale, F Eric Nystrom, F David Moss and F Dustin Boyd.

WORTH NOTING: The Avs were without both Peter Forsberg and Paul Stastny, a big blow to their offence. Stastny leads the Avs in points, with eight, against the Flames this season...Avs captain Joe Sakic entered the game with 102 points against the Flames, the most points against any team for Burnaby Joe...Dion Phaneuf collected career assist 100 in the first period...The Flames had been outshot for seven straight games before Thursday when they outshot the Avs 28-16. The Flames started three defencemen at the opening face-off as rearguard Jim Vandermeer was moved to forward for a shift. He immediately -- well, nine seconds into the game -- dropped the gloves to go toe-to-toe with Ian Laperriere in the Flames end...

BY THE NUMBERS: There were nine penalties handed out in the first period and just one the rest of the game -- one to Wayne Primeau with 1.2 seconds left in the game...With an assist in the first period Flames captain Jarome Iginla has points in five of his last six games...The Flames blocked 12 shots compared to three for the Avs...Calgary won 59 per cent of the face-offs...Hit totals were close as the Flames finished with 16 and the Avs had 14.
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