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The Game Rush: Flames vs. Avalanche

by Torie Peterson / Calgary Flames

CALGARY, AB -- The Calgary Flames wanted to ring in the new year on a three-game winning streak. Thanks to the efforts of their fourth line, they did just that with a 3-2 victory over the Colorado Avalanche.

After a quiet first period, the flood gates opened in the second frame when the Flames scored two goals in 42 seconds. First, Tom Kostopoulos scored his fourth of the season thanks to a heads up play by Mark Giordano. The defenceman saw Tim Jackman alone by the side of the net and made a quick pass to him. He snapped a one-timer on net and Kostopoulos picked the rebound in the slot, batting it into the net.

Then, captain Jarome Iginla earned his 16th tally thanks to a beautiful drop pass from Alex Tanguay. The winger skated the puck into the offensive zone, dropping right after he skated over the blueline. Iginla was there to pick it up and wrist it through a screen to beat Anderson low glove side.

The fourth line gave the Flames a three-goal cushion to work with when Jackman came streaking into the offensive zone on a partial 2-on-0 breakaway. Picking up an Anton Babchuk pass in the neutral zone, Jackman and Kostopoulos were able to skate to the net on their own thanks to the major defensive gaff by the Avalanche. Jackman intially fanned on the shot but managed to guide the puck under Anderson's pads. Kostopoulos also assisted.

Colorado got on the board at 7:45 when Daniel Winnik scored a short-handed goal. Tomas Fleischmann made it 3-2 with a late goal.

The Flames came out of the gate a bit flat, allowing the Avalanche to put five shots on net in the first 10:00 of the contest. In comparison, Calgary put just one puck on Anderson in that span. They needed a spark to make sure Colorado didn't run away with the period and a member of the energy line provided with just that.

Ryan Wilson picked up the puck in the corner, glancing around for a teammate to dish it off to, when Tom Kostopoulos came flying in. The gritty winger absolutely leveled the young defenceman with a shoulder-to-chest check. Wilson hit the ice hard, coughed up the puck and got both the team and fans into the tilt.

After that point, the Flames didn't look back and proceeded to dominate the game in every aspect.

Tanguay is known for his amazing playmaking abilities and he gave the Scotiabank Saddledome a show during the second period.

Skating into the offensive zone alone, Tanguay drew blueliners Ryan O'Byrne and John-Michael Liles towards him. Iginla skated in alone behind his linemate and Tanguay made a gentle drop pass to the captain. Iginla used the defenders as a screen and ripped a wrist shot past Anderson.

While the entire fourth line had an outstanding game, Kostopoulos led his linemates with his best performance as a Flame.

From his hard-hitting plays to scoring goals to killing penalties, the winger did it all for his club in 9:59 of ice time.

Overall, Kostopoulos had a goal, assist, two hits and a +2 rating.

Jay Bouwmeester holds the longest current ironman streak in the NHL with 461 games. His streak started on Mar. 6, 2004.

Iginla is two assists shy of reaching 500.

Matt Stajan needs eight goals for 100.

Calgary currently sits at 99 overtime wins (99-109-226).

The Flames have an 11-1-1 record when leading after two periods.

"We were just able to get a forecheck going for a few shifts and were able to chip in tonight ... we know what each other wants to do with the puck and we try to keep it simple out there. TK and Moss always work so hard and good things happen when you work hard." - Jackman on his line's play against the Avalanche

Saturday, Jan. 1 vs. Edmonton
  8:00 PM MT (CBC, FAN 960)

The Flames will open 2011 with another edition of the Battle of Alberta. They have visited Edmonton just once this season, falling by a score of 4-0 in their season opener. However, Calgary holds the edge in the season series 2-1.

Game time is 8:00 PM MT on CBC's Hockey Night In Canada and The FAN 960.
5 Straight games Mikael Backlund has been a healthy scratch.
4 Shots on net from the line of Tim Jackman, Tom Kostopoulos and David Moss. They combined for 4 points.
26:32 Ice time for Jay Bouwmeester, who led all players in that category.
10 Hits for the Flames. The Avalanche had 7 in the contest.
97 Shot blocks for Mark Giordano this season.

1st Star
Tim Jackman
G A P +/- Shots
1 1 2 +2 2
2nd Star
Tom Kostopoulos
G A P +/- Shots
1 1 1 +2 1
3rd Star
Daniel Winnik
G A P +/- Shots
1 0 1 +1 4

Craig Anderson
23 20 3 58:30 .869

Miikka Kiprusoff
21 19 2 60:00 .904

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