GAME AT A GLANCE
DENVER — Getting a break late in the season is pretty tough. The Calgary Flames learned that the hard way Monday in a 2-0 loss to the Colorado Avalanche at the Pepsi Center.
The second goal the Avs scored, just past the midway point in the third, came off what appeared to be an icing call. Instead, there was no whistle and Milan Hejduk finished off a passing play and, essentially, ended the Flames hopes of a comeback. On the ice and on the bench the Flames argued, but to no avail as the ruling of an attempted pass negates icing.
|Calgary Flames right wing Jarome Iginla (12) hits Colorado Avalanche defenseman Jeff Finger (6) during the second period of an NHL hockey game in Denver, Monday, March 24, 2008. (AP Photo/Jack Dempsey) |
Both the Avs and Flames showed up to play with plenty of will and plenty of chutzpah in this Northwest Division match-up. The Avs represented the desperate team, one that had lost four straight while the Flames represented a team looking to stay on a roll, having won two straight, including a 2-1 win over the Avs last Thursday in Calgary.
The Avs scored first, with six seconds remaining on a power play in the second period when Jordan Leopold picked up a pass that had bounced off Peter Forsberg's leg in front and fired it past Miikka Kiprusoff, who had no chance on the lucky-bounce goal. Through the first two periods the scoring were very close, perhaps even dead-even.
So, the Flames went looking for that one chance to even the game in the third period. They had an early power play but generated little in the way of chances. The Avs, at even strength, pushed the same kind of defence the Flames pushed last Thursday in Calgary -- they made it tough in the neutral zone. And they relied on goalie Jose Theodore to smother rebounds, which he did quite well all evening. The Flames pushed hard late in the game and had a number of good chances but credit has to go to Theodore and the Avs defence, who blocked a lot of shots in the final minutes of play.
The Flames finished the game with a flurry of action using a penalty to go six-on-four. They had numerous chances but nothing got by Theodore. The last time the teams met the Flames won based on two power play goals. Monday, they had nothing to show for it.
"It's a close game. It's a one-goal game, really and you are going to have those. We didn't get (the power play) set up tonight and didn't get any consistency on it. At this time of year special teams make a difference."
"I think we played a little more on the outside. We could have got to the net more," said defenceman Anders Eriksson. "You can't win if you don't score goals."
Following the second goal the Flames removed Miikka Kiprusoff and replaced him with Curtis Joseph although it was no fault of Kiprusoff's on this night.
"It's a grind right now. That's why we have to be very good at the fundamentals of the game...You have to stick with the program,"added defenceman Robyn Regehr.
With the loss the Flames missed a chance to move into first in the Northwest Division as the Minnesota Wild maintained their one-point lead over the Flames despite losing in Edmonton.