Way back in the sixth game of the year the Calgary Flames went into Devner and staked themselves to a 4-0 lead. It evaporated and turned into a 5-4 loss in a shootout.
So, enquiring minds, were wondering, would it happen again on Saturday. Afterall, the Avs had shown that they can push back against the Flames.
While the Avs carried much of the play in the third, there was really not much doubt. And, with the score 4-1 in favour of the Flames, Craig Conroy dangled into the Avs zone and put away the Flames fifth goal of the night to all but seal the deal.
The Avs would score a funny goal from a bad angle to close out the scoring but in the end the Flames take two games in the same week from the Avs, outscoring Colorado 9-3 in the process.
"We got off to a good start and kept it going," said defenceman Cory Sarich. "We'd like a couple of plays back in the third period but the guys were crisp and took it to the Avs for the most part."
Phaneuf goes forward
Dion Phaneuf is used to starting hockey games. He's not used to starting them at forward. But that's where the burly defenceman found himself Saturday on the opening face-off. Phaneuf was on the left wing, Craig Conroy at centre and Jarome Iginla on the right side.
On a first period power play Phaneuf was again up front, planted firmly in front ot the Avs net.
|THE TURNING POINT |
|Cory Sarich makes a smart move at the Avs blueline, keeping the puck in off the wall and feeding the puck softly to the Avs net for Matthew Lombardi to pick up and stuff between Jose Theodore's legs to put the Flames up 2-0. |
|STATS AND NUMBERS |
|- Daymond Langkow ended a 12-game scoreless streak with a first period tally |
- The Avs have been strong at home, posting a 9-1 record at the Pepsi Center, best home record in the Western Conference
- 1 goal for Stephane Yelle this season as he scored in the second period
|THE BIG SAVE |
|Miikka Kiprusoff kicked out a shot from the slot with a brilliant skate save. The Flames didn't waste it, turning up ice and scoring the first goal of the game. |
|THE BIG HIT |
|Early in the game Brett Sauer stepped into the neutral zone to hit Dion Phaneuf in a reversal of roles. That was about as physical as the Avs to though as the Flames took over in that department. |
|WORTH NOTING |
|During the warm-up the Flames Eric Godard and Avs Scott Parker, the designated heavyweights for the night, had words and a little shoving at centre ice...This was the fifth meeting between the two teams this season. They don't play against each other again until February. |
|UP NEXT |
|The Flames travel to St, Louis to meet the Blues, 4 p.m. MT only on Flames PPV |
"Any time you are asked to move to a new position, you do it," said Phaneuf, who played a little forward in the WHL as a Red Deer Rebel. "You have a job to do and you want to do it well."
Phaneuf was put in the forward group during a power play against Chicago on Thursday. "They just said you are up front now. Not much notice," said Phaneuf, who collected an assist on that power play.
"It's a good change. It's a different look for the other team defending against us," added Phaneuf.
Said Flames associate coach Jim Playfair: "He (Phaneuf) can bring a physical presence to our group up front."
Langkow ends drought
It had been a long time coming for Daymond Langkow. After a terrific start to the season in the goal-scoring department, the Flames forward suddenly went cold. For 12 straight games.
But he broke out of the slump Saturday when he and Jarome Iginla hooked up on a two-on-one. Iginla slid the puck across to the top of the crease and Langkow, crashing the net, picked up the puck and lifted a backhand past Jose Theodore to give the Flames a 1-0 lead.
It was Langkow's ninth tally of the season.
Defensive coverage being emphasized
The Flames, for the most part, have shown that they can score goals.
But they have been searching recently for a defensive stance that fits. And, over the last three games, including Saturday in Denver, they found it by keeping the number of shots on goal and scoring chances to a minimum.
Even though the Flames lost 2-1 to Chicago, they were not unhappy defensively -- the Hawks had just 14 shots on Thursday and got their two goals while killing penalties.
"The thing is to be better defensively and more responsible n your own zone," said Flames assistant coach Jim Playfair. "It's going to be the best way to balance out our team. You are not going to score as many as you want to all the time. But you have to score one more than the other team. The key to doing that is to be better defensively."
The Flames outshot the Avs 32-23 Saturday.
That's a lot of hockey against one team
The Calgary Flames and Colorado Avalanche have played five times already this season. There are three more matches but they won't meet again until February.
"As a player, a coach and a fan you like to see variety. But that's the way the schedule was drawn up," said Avs assistant coach Tony Granato. "It's a great rivalry and we have a lot of respect for them."
The games are extremely important because they are inter-division and, until earier this week when the Flames downed the Avs 4-1, Colorado had taken seven straight from the Flames. Granato, however, said not to read too much into the numbers.
"Most of the games have come down to the wire. They have a good hockey team over there. These games are important and you've got to find ways to win them. Every game we have played against them has been a battle of some sort."
The Flames lost defenceman Rhett Warrener to a suspected ankle injury. He hit Ryan Smyth along the boards in the first period and seemed to twist the ankle at the same time.
He left the game during the first period but returned briefly before leaving the game for good in the second period.
The Flames also lost forward Owen Nolan for a brief time during the game. He returned and promptly rang a wrist shot off the post in the second period.
Godard faces suspension
Avalanche tough guy Scott Parker went out in the second period to do his thing -- stir it up. He got it when he cross-checked Dion Phaneuf in the throat and then jabbed his stick at Phaneuf while he was on the ice.
In comes Eric Godard for the anticipated heavyweight bout, in which Parker gets the upper hand. Problem for Parker is he took a major for the crosscheck so it didn't help his team in the power play department.
Word out of Denver was that Parker could face further discipline under the intent to injure rule for his crosscheck on Phaneuf.
The Flames also received the news that Godard would be suspended for two games because he received his third instigator penalty of the season.
Coincidentally, all three players were involved in a pushing and shoving session during the warm-up.