CALGARY - Daymond Langkow and Craig Conroy scored first period power-play goals Thursday night as the Calgary Flames won 2-1 over the Colorado Avalanche in a pivotal Northwest Division clash.
The two man advantages the Flames connected on were both set up by the speed of centre Matthew Lombardi who on each occasion darted dangerously into the Colorado zone while shorthanded and drew hooking penalties as he attempted to go around the Avalanche defence.
Langkow opened the scoring at 8:19 with an easy tap-in into an empty net after a strong power move to the net from Jarome Iginla produced a shot from in-close that Jose Theodore stopped but could not control the rebound.
Conroy made it 2-0 at 14:38, again on a rebound, knocking in a loose puck after Theodore had stopped Dion Phaneuf's shot from the blue-line.
Calgary's power play, which finished 2-for-4, entered the night ranked 29th at home (13.9 per cent). It was the first time in 30 home games dating back to Oct. 30 the Flames have struck for multiple goals with the extra man.
The Flames move two points ahead of Colorado and into a tie for sixth place in the Western Conference with Vancouver, which won 4-1 in Edmonton. Both the Flames and Canucks move to within one point of Northwest Division-leading Minnesota, who play the Canucks on Friday night before continuing on to Calgary to meet the Flames on Saturday.
After a disappointing 1-3 road trip, Calgary (38-26-10) got back to playing they were playing before they left. The Flames are 5-0-2 in their last seven at the Pengrowth Saddledome and play three of their next four games there before wrapping up the season with four games on the road.
Ben Guite scored the lone goal for Colorado (39-30-6). After a blistering stretch in which they won eight of nine, the Avalanche have lost three straight. Colorado wraps up its three-game road trip Saturday night against the Edmonton. They'll hope for the return to the line-up of Peter Forsberg (groin) and Paul Stastny (flu), who each were unable to play against Calgary.
The Flames limited the Avalanche to just 10 shots through the first 40 minutes, but Colorado got on the scoreboard in the third.
With Ryan Smyth parked in front of Miikka Kiprusoff, Guite got a loose puck at the side and knocked in his 10th goal of the year at 5:52.
However, until a bit of pressure in the final 30 seconds, Colorado didn't really come close to tying the game.
Kiprusoff finished with 15 saves to improve to 36-22-10.
Theodore, who made 26 stops for Colorado, drops to 23-21-2.
The game got off to an emotional start with Flames defenceman Jim Vandeermeer and Colorado's Ian Laperriere dropping the gloves just nine seconds into the game.
Seven more minor penalties were called in the first period and while the Flames were able to take advantage, Colorado - owner of the NHL's worst road power play were not.
The Avalanche were blanked on three man advantages in the opening 20 minutes and finished the night 0-for-4.
Notes: Joe Sakic's next assist will be No. 1000 of his career making him just the 11th player to reach that mark and only active player... Calgary's power-play had scored two or more goals in four of its first eight home games before the 29 game skid at home in which they amassed just 15 goals with the extra man... Calgary's line-up changes included the return of C Mark Smith after being scratched the previous seven games... Inserted into the line-up for the Avalanche after not playing the previous game was C Jaroslav Hlinka and LW Wojtek Wolski.