A visit by the Colorado Avalanche was just what the struggling Calgary Flames needed to revitalize their playoff hopes.
Jarome Iginla scored twice as the Flames climbed back into eighth place in the Western Conference by beating the reeling Avs 5-2 on Thursday night, handing Colorado its 20th loss in 21 games.
Calgary scored two power-play goals in a 24-second span before the game was five minutes old and never looked back.
"I thought right from the start we had our tempo up and we were able to draw the penalties," Iginla said. "Fortunately we were able to get one and then get Gio's goal right afterwards. That was huge."
Mark Giordano, Rene Bourque and Alex Kotalik had a goal and an assist each for the Flames (37-27-9), who snapped a three-game losing streak and jumped over Anaheim and Nashville back into eighth. Kotalik was playing his first game with the Flames after being recalled from the AHL Abbotsford Heat due to injuries that have sidelined Brendan Morrison and David Moss.
"I'm glad to be back," said Kotalik, who had 4 goals and 19 points in 18 games in the AHL. "It's not about me, it's about the team. I feel better. I was trying to bring it up here and I'm glad I was able to contribute in this win."
Kotalik's return gave the Flames a boost.
"Guys were definitely happy to see him back," Iginla said. "He's been through a lot. He had a great game. He hit a crossbar and he could have had another few. It's great to see for him and also for the team."
The Avs got goals by Darren Olver and Cody McLeod and a par of assists by Matt Duchene, but it wasn't enough to keep them from losing for the 10th straight game.
"Tonight they wanted it," Olver said. "They came out strong, they came out hard. They took advantage of their power plays."
Iginla opened the scoring 3:51 into the game with a one-timer past Peter Budaj during a 5-on-3 power play. With the Flames still skating 5-on-4, Giordano cut into the slot and lost control of the puck before spinning and sliding a shot through Budaj's legs at 4:15.
The Avs cut the deficit to one at 7:35 when Olver scored his first NHL goal. He took a pass from Duchene, cut in front of the Calgary net and made a quick move to his backhand before roofing a shot over Miikka Kiprusoff's left pad.
"When you're a little kid you dream of your first NHL goal," Olver said. "After a loss like that, you sure wish it was after better circumstances, but that's the way she goes sometimes so we've just got to rebound for Saturday (in Edmonton against the Oilers)."
Bourque made it 3-1 with 18.7 seconds left in the period with a perfect shot into short side top corner -- a backbreaker, according to Avs coach Joe Sacco.
"We came back, we made it 2-1, we started to play better and that was a tough goal to give up in the last minute of the first period," he said.
Kotalik, who had just three goals in 20 games with the Flames before being sent to the minors, tapped in a cross-crease pass from Niklas Hagman to put Calgary up 4-1 at 4:36 of the third.
Iginla converted a feed from Glencross two minutes later to put the game away. With the goal, Iginla moved into a tie with Alexander Mogilny and Denis Savard for 49th all-time among NHL goal scorers with 473 each.
"To be honest I didn't know that," Iginla said. "My second year I went through some tough scoring times and I wondered if maybe I wasn't going to be a scorer in the NHL. I've definitely been extremely blessed. Back then I never would have thought that. I hope to score a lot more, but that's pretty neat and I'm definitely thankful."
McLeod scored during a two-man advantage for the Avs with 5.6 seconds left in the game.
The Flames have just nine games remaining -- fewer than any of the other contenders -- and play the next four on the road, beginning Sunday in Anaheim. But after home losses to Vancouver and Phoenix, they were happy just to enjoy the win for now.
"We needed to get back on track and we can move forward," coach Brent Sutter said. "Our overall game was better through and through, right from our goaltender through to our defense. Our specialty teams did a good job, too.
"The guys responded the way I expected them to. I knew they would be ready to go."
Material from team media and wire services was used in this report