GAME: Colorado Avalanche (16-7-4-1) at Calgary Flames (14-9-1-3).
TIME: Saturday, 10 p.m. EST.
The Colorado Avalanche have so far been in a two-team battle for first place
in the Northwest Division. The surprising Calgary Flames are on the verge of
making it a three-team affair.
The Avalanche will try again to move into sole possession of first in the
Northwest and slow down the Flames when the teams meet at the Pengrowth
Colorado nearly moved atop the division Thursday night as it carried a 1-0
lead into the third period against Vancouver, but Ed Jovanovski scored on an
end-to-end rush at 6:02 to lift the Canucks into a 1-1 tie.
The draw kept the teams knotted up in first place with 37 points.
The Avalanche were probably lucky to come away with a point, as the Canucks
fired 20 shots at David Aebischer in the final period. Aebischer finished with
37 saves as Colorado was outshot 38-28.
"Playing against them is always fun," Colorado captain Joe Sakic said.
"We'd like to have that third period back, but Abby gave us a point."
Aebischer, who took over as the Avs' top goalie after Patrick Roy retired
this summer, robbed Todd Bertuzzi several times from point-blank range. He also
made a handful of stellar stops off Markus Naslund, and one off Magnus Arvedson
on a partial break early in the third.
Aebischer, though, wasn't happy with himself on Jovanovski's goal.
"I have to stop that one, no question about it," he said.
Rob Blake opened the scoring 6:08 in with his third goal in four games.
Colorado has beaten Calgary in both meetings this season, with one of the
Avs' victories coming in overtime during the Flames' 8-1-1-1 surge that has
moved them to within five points of Colorado and Vancouver. Calgary's four-game
winning streak came to an end Tuesday, but the Flames got back on track
Thursday night with a 1-0 victory over Carolina.
Shean Donovan scored 1:45 into the third period, and Miikka Kiprusoff
stopped 23 shots for his first shutout with Calgary.
Donovan, who had a six-game goal streak snapped in Tuesday's 2-1 loss in
Minnesota, scored his team-leading 12th of the season.
Kiprusoff made the goal stand up, stopping 13 third-period shots to improve
to 7-2 since joining Calgary in a trade from San Jose on Nov. 16. He faced just
10 shots in the first 40 minutes.
"These are the toughest games for goaltenders -- when you don't get a lot of
work for long periods of time, but then you have to make big saves and that's
what he did in the third," coach Darryl Sutter said. "It's a sign of a guy
that's focused and on top of his game."
Injured Avalanche forwards Paul Kariya (wrist) and Peter Forsberg (abdomen)
are traveling with the team. Both skated Thursday, but coach Tony Granato said
neither is expected to play on this two-game road trip, which concludes