DENVER, CO. -- You couldn't have written a better ending to one of the most important games of the year for both the Calgary Flames and the Colorado Avalanche. The Flames came out knowing what was at stake and found a way to pick up the two points and move into a tie with the Avalanche for the final playoff berth in the Western Conference.
After a scoreless first period, the Avs got caught on a bad change resulting in Nigel Dawes drawing first blood for the Flames just 2:28 into the second frame. He accepted a nice feed from David Moss
on a developing two-on-one play up centre ice. For Dawes it was his first goal against the Avalanche in the nine times he has played against them..
The Flames came out hard again in the second period adding another goal this time just 2:11 in. Cory Sarich
fired a hard shot from the blue line and it was luckily tipped in by Rene Bourque as he was falling to the ice. He picks up his 26th of the season and sixth against the Avalanche this season.
"I don't even know what happened or if it hit me or what, I wasn't even trying to tip it in," smiled Bourque.
Colorado came out with some fire power in the third period and went hard for a big push and were rewarded with a goal. Paul Stastny made it all happen down low behind the net with Chris Stewart. He flipped it out in front to Calgary native T.J Galiardi who fired a quick shot on net that beat Miikka Kiprusoff
at 7:32 tightening the gap to 2-1.
The Avs continued to push the Flames but it was Kiprusoff who was there to come up big again for the Flames making clutch saves in the third to preserve the win for the Flames and pull them into a tie for the 8th and final playoff spot in the Western Conference with the Avs.
Both teams have 89 points. However, the Avs have a game in ahand and would win the tiebreaker.
"Any team that has success has to have good goaltending, it's the wall of your team," said head coach Brent Sutter. "He's made key saves at key times for us and played outstanding again."
Kipper's highlight save came after stopping three Avalanche shots then stretching across the crease in the knick of time to make a huge glove save on Chris Stewart with under six minutes to play in the must-win game.
"They are a pretty good team behind the net so you have to be ready," said Kiprusoff. "It's nice to make a save like that and get a win like that. We have to keep winning and I think we have a really confident team right now. We're ready to go."
Kipper stopped 12 of 13 shots in the third period to secure the two points for his club tonight.
The Flames now look forward to Sunday's matinee against the Blackhawks in Chicago. The Flames have to keep pushing to win all of their remaining games. Game time is 1:00 PM MST on Sportsnet West & The FAN 960.
|GAME WINNER |
|Rene Bourque was credited with the game winner tonight with a tip-in goal in the opening minutes of the third period. It was Cory Sarich who took the shot from the blue line but somehow, although Bourque was falling down, he got his stick on the puck before it flew past Craig Anderson. Mikael Backlund gets the second assist on the goal and now has points in his last three games. |
|WHY THE FLAMES WON |
|Miikka Kiprusoff was again at his jaw stopping best between the pipes for the Flames, stopping 35 of 36 shots, and 12 of those coming in the third period alone. There was one save in particular that even Kipper will be watching on the highlights when he robbed Chris Stewart with just seven minutes to play in the game. He slid across the net after stopping three Avs shots, just in time to get his glove on the puck keeping the Flames up 2-1. The Flames overall had more jump in their step and simply were the hungrier team. |
|GAME NOTES-ROSTERS |
|Sutter decided to put the Dawes, Moss, Conroy line out against the rookie Matt Duchene, Peter Mueller and Paul Stastny line as they proved to matchup very well last game against the top couple of Phoenix lines. Sitting out for Calgary was D Adam Pardy, F Brian McGrattan, F Christopher Higgins, F Curtis Glencross and F Daymond Langkow. The Avalanche scratched D Brett Clark, D Ruslan Salei, F Matt Hendricks, F David Koci, F Marek Svatos, F Chris Durno. |
|TONIGHT'S DIGITS |
|26 - Bourque gets the game winner and his 26th of the year and 6th against the Avalanche. |
17- Avs Peter Mueller has seven goals and 10 assists in his last 13 games.
4- Avs lose their fourth straight game and have dropped seven of eight.
83 - Jamal Mayers went 83% in the face-off circle.
|"They are a pretty good team behind the net so you have to be ready. It's nice to make a save like that and get a win like that. We have to keep pushing. We've been working really hard. We are blocking shots and trying to outwork every team. - Kiprusoff |
"I don't even know what happened or ifit hit me or what, I wasn't even trying to tip it in." - Bourque
"Any team that has success has to have good goaltending, it's the wall of your team. He's made key saves at key times for us and played outstanding again."- Head Coach Brent Sutter
|HARDEST WORKING FLAMES |
| || || || |
|Miikka Kiprusoff |
Back to back first star of the game. Stopped 35 of 36 shots.
| ||Rene Bourque |
Game winning goal tonight. Has six goals and one assist vs. the Avalanche.
| ||Nigel Dawes |
Scored his 14th of the year and first against the Avs in nine attempts.