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Duchene, Iginla help Avalanche defeat Flames

by Rick Sadowski /

DENVER -- Matt Duchene and Jarome Iginla each scored two goals to help the Colorado Avalanche to a 6-3 win against the Calgary Flames at Pepsi Center on Tuesday.

Duchene, who had gone six games without a goal, scored his first even-strength goal of the season late in the first period and deflected defenseman Francois Beauchemin's shot from the left point behind goalie Karri Ramo on a power play with 5:31 left in the third period for a 5-3 lead.

"It feels good, but I think the biggest thing is I'd trade both of them in to keep that win for sure," Duchene said. "I think we needed that one. We've been working really hard and going through some stuff. We've got a lot of character in this room, and a lot of fight, and tonight we showed it."

The Avalanche had a season-high 42 shots, led by Duchene and linemates Gabriel Landeskog (two assists) and Carl Soderberg, who combined for 16 shots.

"That line had a good night," Avalanche coach Patrick Roy said. "They had to play against their top line, had a lot of shots on net, played a sound game. I thought they were solid.

"I was very happy to see us scoring goals. I thought we had a good mix. The power-play goal was a big one. It was a solid team effort. Sometimes you don't always want it pretty, you want a win, but tonight it was fun to see us play some good hockey and win the game at the same time."

The Avalanche (4-7-1) had gone 1-4-1 in their previous six games at home and were 1-5-1 in the previous seven overall. The Flames (3-9-1) have lost five of their past six games.

Colorado has had problems in the third period, and after building a 3-1 lead watched Calgary score late in the second to pull within a goal and tie it 3-3 at 7:34 of the third. Mark Giordano took a long shot which hit Beauchemin's glove and dribbled underneath goalie Semyon Varlamov's right pad.

"They tied it up and it's like déjà vu again and we're sitting on the bench shaking our heads," Duchene said. "But we buckled down and made sure that we got this one tonight. It feels great."

The Avalanche went ahead for good 4-3 at 13:01 when Iginla won a battle for the puck from Joe Colborne along the right-wing boards and passed to Nathan MacKinnon at the top of the slot for a quick shot.

"He made a great play along the wall," said MacKinnon, who also had two assists. "He won the battle, fed me. It was right in my wheelhouse and I had to shoot it hard. The [defenseman] was screening and I'm happy it went in."

Flames coach Bob Hartley was not happy with their effort.

"That's the story of the start of our season right now," he said. "Breakdowns, we lost the battle on the wall, 3-3 game and the puck's in our net. That's where it is. We have to get dirtier in critical areas and critical times of the game. That's why we lost.

"It's all about reading the game. You have to read the game and you have to compete on every shift. That winning goal, it's the compete level. We have no business losing that battle on the wall and the puck's in our net."

The Flames pulled within 3-2 with 1:27 to go in the second period on a goal by Sam Bennett, who has two goals and four assists in a four-game scoring streak. Bennett retrieved the puck behind the net, circled in front and put it by goalie Varlamov's left pad.

The Avalanche took their 3-1 lead on a shorthanded goal by defenseman Erik Johnson, who ripped a shot from the right point at 15:14. It was Johnson's first goal in nine games. He also had an assist.

"I was screaming, screaming, screaming to [Beauchemin] to give me the puck," Johnson said. "He zipped it across and I got a quick slapper off and put it over the glove. Any time you can get a contribution shorthanded it boosts the team and I'm just happy to get the win. There's nothing better than winning."

Johnny Gaudreau tied the game 1-1 for Calgary at 4:08 of the second period on a 2-on-1 rush. Gaudreau, who had gone 10 games without a goal, scored from the right circle with a shot that eluded Varlamov to the stick side.

The Avalanche went ahead 2-1 at 12:19 when Iginla tipped in a shot by Tyson Barrie, who had three assists. Iginla's two goals were his first in six career games against his former team. He has now scored against every NHL team.

The Flames thought they scored twice in the period, but came away empty following video reviews.

"I looked at the replays," Bennett said. "It is frustrating, but I think the refs made the right calls."

The Avalanche took a 1-0 lead on a goal by Duchene with 22 seconds remaining in the first period. Duchene moved in on Ramo, who stopped his first shot. Duchene was at the right side of the net when he retrieved the loose puck and poked it inside the near post.

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