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Flames 5, Avalanche 2 @NHLdotcom

CALGARY, Alberta (AP) -Kristian Huselius was determined to make up for a bad game.

Huselius scored twice and neatly set up Dion Phaneuf's tiebreaking goal as the Calgary Flames beat the Colorado Avalanche 5-2 Saturday night.

After being benched for parts of Thursday's 7-5 loss to the Avalanche, Huselius responded with the kind of dazzling offensive display that had almost become routine during a recent 15-game scoring streak.

"Last game, we weren't really sharp and they scored seven goals against us here in the Saddledome," Huselius said. "Obviously, I didn't play my best game and I wanted to come out tonight and play better."

With the score tied 2-2, Phaneuf put the Flames ahead at 16:31 of the second with his 14th goal of the season. As Huselius cut towards the middle, he slid the puck back the opposite direction to a waiting Phaneuf, who ripped a slap shot past Avalanche goalie Peter Budaj.

"When Dion joins the rush, he usually comes in flying and screams at you so you know he's behind you," Huselius said with a chuckle.

It's the kind of pass Phaneuf is getting used to during what's been a breakout season for the 28-year-old Swede.

"He's very skilled, very shifty when he's got the puck," Phaneuf said. "Whether there's three guys on him or not, he still makes the play. He was great again tonight. I can't say enough about how creative he is with the puck."

Jarome Iginla and Stephane Yelle, with an empty-netter, also scored for Calgary.

"We took a couple steps backward the other night," Phaneuf said. "Tonight, we came out, everyone as a whole played a great game defensively for a full 60 minutes and that's what won us the hockey game."

Paul Stastny and Andrew Brunette scored for Colorado, which visits Vancouver on Sunday night before returning home to play the Flames again on Tuesday night.

Huselius' second of the night and 27th of the season came at 9:08 of the third period, on a wrist shot over Budaj's blocker from a near impossible angle after being set up by Iginla.

In the back-and-forth Northwest Division race, the Flames climbed back into a tie for first place with Vancouver. Minnesota is just one point back.

Colorado sits 10th in the Western Conference, nine points back of the eighth-place Wild.

"Clearly the first game was good for us, but we're right back where we were," Colorado winger Brad May said. "Time's running away on us, but we just have to make sure to turn it into a two-out-of-three series and hopefully get that one on Tuesday."

After a scoreless first period in which both teams combined for just nine shots, both offenses got going in the second.

Calgary struck first at 2:59 when Huselius got his 26th goal of the season. Daymond Langkow worked the puck back to Andrei Zyuzin, who spotted Huselius alone at the side of the net and sent him a perfect pass for an easy tap in.

Colorado responded with a pair of goals just over 3 minutes apart to jump in front 2-1. Milan Hejduk deflected Karlis Skrastin's shot and the puck caromed right to Stastny at the side of the crease who flipped the puck in the open side at 7:42 to tie the score.

Brunette was the benefactor of a big rebound on the go-ahead goal at 11:13 as Miikka Kiprusoff kicked out Joe Sakic's hard slapshot from the corner right into the slot where Brunette buried his 21st of the season.

Calgary evened it 2-2 at 14:45 on the power play when Langkow zipped a pass across to Iginla who one-timed a low slap shot inside the goal post beyond Budaj's outstretched pad.

"We had a good effort tonight but we just ended up on the short end," May said. "We can't look back now. It's behind us and we have to learn from our mistakes. We have to ramp it up for Tuesday. It's an important game for us. They know it too. It's important for them as well."

Calgary lost David Moss to injury in the first period when he was hit hard from behind by Avalanche defenseman Ossi Vaananen and sent face-first into the boards. Moss was down on the ice bleeding from his face, and Vaananen was assessed a boarding major and game misconduct.

Notes Hejduk played in his 600th NHL game. ... Colorado D Jordan Leopold did not play after hurting his wrist in Thursday's game. ... At 313 career goals, Iginla is two away from passing Joe Nieuwendyk and moving into second place on the Flames' all-time list. Theo Fleury (364) is No. 1. ... Sakic is one goal away from tying Jari Kurri (601) for 16th place on the NHL all-time list. ... Stastny needs two more points to tie Alex Tanguay's franchise record for most points by a rookie of 51, set in 1999-2000.

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