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Avalanche bounce back, hold off Flames

by Aaron Vickers

CALAGRY -- The Colorado Avalanche didn't waste time dwelling on the past.

One night after an 8-2 drubbing by the Edmonton Oilers, the Avalanche bounced back to hold off the Calgary Flames 3-2 at Scotiabank Saddledome on Friday night.

Maxime Talbot, PA Parenteau and Nathan MacKinnon scored, and Jean-Sebastien Giguere made 26 saves for the Avalanche (20-7-0), who improved to 17-0-0 when leading after two periods.

"It was very important," Giguere said. "We needed to respond the right way, show everybody that we're human, the same as anyone else. We might lose some games where we didn't play well but we're able to bounce back the next game. I thought we played a terrific game tonight."

Kris Russell and Matt Stajan had goals for the Flames, who entered the game with back-to-back victories but couldn't string together three consecutive wins for the first time this season.

Colorado trailed 1-0 late in the second period but scored twice in the final two minutes to erase the deficit.

Karri Ramo, who had allowed one goal in each of the two victories, opened the door for the Avalanche. He tried to clear the puck off the boards but had his attempt picked off by John Mitchell, who quickly fed Talbot for his second of the season and first as a member of the Avalanche at the 18-minute mark.

"It's about time," Talbot said. "I've waited a lot of games for this as an Av and I felt right after the goal, you've got 50 pounds off your shoulders. Your head is a little higher and the play slows down for you. My game is not about scoring goals all the time but it's nice to participate in the offense of this team."

Ramo said he should have played the puck differently.

"I just played it to the wrong side. I should have played it to the backhand," he said. "They got momentum and scored three goals, so it was a big game-changing moment there.

"It's hockey. Mistakes cost goals. My overall game was all right, but those mistakes are what counts and I have to avoid those."

Defenseman Ladislav Smid didn't pin the error on Ramo.

"He has been amazing for us, I thought, the last few games," Smid said. "Colorado had so many other chances and he was really, really good for us. He doesn't have to blame himself. There's another five players that have to help him."

On the same shift, Talbot retrieved a dump-in and found Parenteau alone in the slot, and he beat Ramo 54 seconds later for his second in as many games and a 2-1 lead.

"I had good legs tonight," Talbot said. "We were even at the end of a shift but I felt good and [Mitchell] made a good dump and forechecked well and attacked the net. I saw PA coming in the slot. I felt it, that shift. It was definitely a good goal by PA."

MacKinnon extended the lead to 3-1 at 2:28 of the third. The first player taken in the 2013 NHL Draft gained the Calgary zone before dropping a pass to Gabriel Landeskog. He then circled behind the net, picked up his linemate's rebound and buried it behind Ramo.

The Flames tried to claw their way back in it with less than 10 minutes remaining.

With a delayed penalty coming to Landeskog, former Colorado forward David Jones took a centering pass from Mikael Backlund but couldn't beat Giguere from in close. The ensuing penalty was quickly erased by Nate Guenin, who was tripped by Mark Giordano on a partial breakaway.

The Flames kept coming and cut the margin to one with 1:55 left in regulation and Ramo on the bench in favor of a sixth attacker. Mike Cammalleri fed Stajan for a cross-crease tap-in to cut Colorado's lead to one.

But Calgary couldn't connect again on a second try with the empty net.

After their beating in Edmonton, the Avalanche came out flat in the first period and paid the price. With Mitchell serving a holding penalty, Russell's slap shot found its way through traffic before hitting the back of the net at 7:01 to give the Flames a 1-0 lead.

Lee Stempniak bumped into Giguere moments before Russell's shot snuck by, drawing the ire of both the Avalanche goaltender and coach Patrick Roy. Giguere flipped the net in protest and was assessed an additional minor for unsportsmanlike conduct.

"I thought [I was bumped] a little bit," Giguere said. "I didn't like my reaction after. I acted like a 2-year-old. I thought we responded pretty well after that. We killed that penalty and then I thought we started playing a little bit better after that."

Giguere and the Avalanche kept Calgary at bay the rest of the period, but the Flames still took a lead into the second period for just the fifth time in 28 games this season.

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