DENVER, CO -- It was another 3-2 affair between the Calgary Flames and the Colorado Avalanche but after four straight wins for the boys from Denver, Calgary had enough. They scored three straight goals to keep themselves in a tight playoff race.
Vesa Toskala was great in his second start as a member of the Flames, making several highlight reel saves on a desperate Colorado club.
The Flames got themselves off to a great start early in the game with a short-handed tally. Matt Stajan made a determined play at the blueline and was able to push the puck up to Rene Bourque. The rugged winger steamed past the fallen defender in the neutral zone and carried it into the offensive zone. Bourque wired a shot high glove side, beating Anderson at 3:12.
Eric Nystrom made it 2-1 for the visitors when he positioned himself perfectly at the side of the net to bat a Jamal Mayers pass in the open cage.
Ensuring there wouldn't be a fifth straight 3-2 loss, Bourque potted his second of the night while the Flames were on a power play. Ian White and Mark Giordano earned the assists on Bourque's 22nd goal of the season after a nice passing play and a big shot from the point.
The Avs were able to gain a bit of ground in the second period when Chris Durno scored his fourth of the season during a scramble in front of Toskala.
Milan Hejduk made it a tense last 20 seconds when he was able to score the Avs second of the night at 19:40 but the Flames clamped down and earned the victory,
The Flames are back in Calgary on Friday to take on the San Jose Sharks. Game time is 7:00 p.m. MST on Sportsnet West & The FAN 960.
|WHY THE FLAMES WON |
|Rene Bourque's shorthanded marker early in the first period gave the Flames a boost of confidence and they didn't look back. The played a gritty game around Craig Anderson and played the Avs defense physically, checking them at every opportunity. They played a full 60 minutes, something they've talked about needing to do after two straight losses, and it paid off. |
|GAME NOTES |
|Calgary opted to rest Miikka Kiprusoff as the Flames head into the final leg of the stretch drive so Toskala got his second start as a member of the Flames. D Adam Pardy, F Brian McGrattan, F Christopher Higgins and F Mikael Backlund were Calgary's scratches in Colorado. |
|TONIGHT'S DIGITS |
|4 - Shorthanded goals for Bourque this season. |
8 - Fights between Calgary and Colorado in 5 games this season.
8 - Goals for Nystrom this season.
34 - Shots on net for both clubs.
4 - Hits for Cory Sarich, leading the Flames in this category.
|"“I’m sure everybody is competing hard enough,” he said. “But maybe we should at some points be a little smarter, too. If you just skate as hard as you can, end to end, it’s maybe not the smartest way (to play). You have to pick your spots." - Niklas Hagman on what the team needed to do to defeat the Avs |
"“I don’t know if it really matters how we do it. We just need to win,” added Nigel Dawes. “There’s no other alternative. We have to win the games, no matter who were playing, but especially against Colorado." - Nigel Dawes
|HARDEST WORKING FLAMES |
| || || || |
|Rene Bourque |
Scored 2 goals in 19:19 of ice time, 4 shots, 2 missed shots
| ||Vesa Toskala |
Made 32 saves in his 2nd start, made several clutch saves
| ||Eric Nystrom |
His 8th of the season was the game winner, 4 shots, 2 hits