Avalanche 1, Flames 1

Preview | Box Score | Recap

CALGARY, Alberta (AP)—David Aebischer is the reason why the Colorado Avalanche are returning home with their unbeaten streak intact.

John-Michael Liles scored the tying goal late in the third period and Aebischer made 32 saves to help the Colorado Avalanche salvage a 1-1 tie with the Calgary Flames on Saturday night.

Teemu Selanne curled out from behind the Flames net and put a pass in front that deflected off the skate of forward Joe Sakic right to the Colorado rookie defenseman. Liles beat goaltender Miikka Kiprusoff with 6:38 left in the third period.

Calgary had the best scoring chance in overtime despite being outshot 6-3. Jarome Iginla’s slap shot hit the post after he was set up by Matthew Lombardi on a two-on-one.

It was the second consecutive 1-1 tie for Colorado on its two-game trip to Western Canada. The Avalanche are unbeaten in their last eight (4-0-4).

“In Vancouver we didn’t play well, but we got one point and the same thing happened tonight,” Selanne said. “It’s better than a loss but really, for this team, every tie feels like a loss.”

Aebischer was just as good Saturday as he was Thursday when he made 37 saves in the tie with Vancouver. He excelled in the third period when Calgary held a 15-6 edge in shots but couldn’t score a second goal.

“These last two games, he’s been very solid,” Avalanche coach Tony Granato said. “David’s been everything we expected him to be and he certainly was a key factor in us getting a couple points on this trip.”

That wasn’t enough to satisfy the Avalanche.

“Nobody’s happy in here,” Aebischer said. “It’s not so much because of the one point, it’s more because of the way we played. We can be much better than this, that’s for sure.”

Robyn Regehr scored the lone goal for the Flames, 9-1-1-2 in their last 13. Calgary is unbeaten in its last six home games (4-0-2).

“It’s disappointing to let that one slip away, we were so close,” Flames defenseman Denis Gauthier said. “We played a really solid game, good enough to win.”

The Flames opened the scoring 3:42 into the second off a faceoff in the Colorado end.

Dean McAmmond beat Sakic on the faceoff and Shean Donovan knocked the puck back to the blue line, where Regehr’s low wrist shot got by Aebischer.

Colorado won the previous two meetings between the Northwest Division rivals, including a 6-5 overtime victory in Calgary just over two weeks ago.

“It’s a little heartbreaking because that’s twice now they’ve come into our building and stole a point, and last time it was two,” Gauthier said. “We’re trying to catch these guys and they’re within reach right now. This was a great opportunity to get two points closer.”

Kiprusoff was busy in spurts, but also had significant down time. Calgary held the Avalanche without a shot over a 21-minute stretch.

When Colorado did apply pressure, the scoring chances came in bunches.

“We have learn how to win these types of games,” Regehr said. “Nowadays in the entire league, there’s a lot of one-goal games and you have to win them. It’s that simple.”

Shortly after the Avalanche reeled off three shots on a dangerous-looking power-play, Travis Brigley moved in untouched off the left wing, but had his hard slap shot from the top of the circle stopped by Kiprusoff.

Kiprusoff, who had 23 saves, is 7-2-1 on the season.

The best save of the first period belonged to Gauthier.

Kiprusoff sprawled at the side of the net to stop Selanne, but Selanne deftly hung onto the puck and stepped around the fallen goaltender. Selanne’s shot at the empty net was stopped by Gauthier. Andrei Nikolishin hit the goal post seconds later.

Both teams were without key players, with forwards Peter Forsberg (groin) and Paul Kariya (wrist) hurt for the Avalanche and centers Craig Conroy (knee)and Steven Reinprecht (leg) among the five players injured on the Flames.

Notes

Aebischer’s 23rd start is a career high surpassing the 22 he made as a rookie in the 2000-01 season. … Rookie Calgary C Matthew Lombardi has no points in nine games and no goals in 12. … D Robyn Regehr leads the Flames in average ice time (22:34). … Calgary entered the night having given up thefewest shots per game (22.7).

Related Articles

Three Stars

  Game Tying Goal
J. Liles J. Liles
Colorado Avalanche
Scored at 13:22 of 3rd

Goaltending

Goalie Team Shot Save
Miikka Kiprusoff Cgy 24 23