Flames 6, Avalanche 3
“The boys were feeling really good this morning and really excited to get into the game and it showed out there,” said Lombardi, who scored on a short-handed penalty shot and had an assist.
Miikka Kiprusoff made 23 saves for his 37th win of the season as the Flames (41-24-8) moved two points ahead of the Avalanche (40-25-8) for first place in the Northwest Division.
Donovan said the players all know how important each and every point is from here on in.
“We want to be in the playoffs and we’ve got to win these games,” Donovan said. “It’s playoff hockey and it feels like playoff hockey.”
Trailing 2-1 after one period, the Flames came out and dominated in the second, outshooting the Avalanche 12-3.
“We came out in the second and played unbelievable,” Donovan said. “Guy like MacDonald and Ritchie and (Simon) and Chucky (Kobasew) and all those guys were flying around and generating a lot in the offensive zone. That’s what we’ve got to do to get into the playoffs.”
Chris Simon tied the score on a disputed goal at 3:05. Byron Ritchie centered the puck from behind the goal line to Simon, who was driving toward the net while being tied up by Colorado forward Jim Dowd. The puck bounced into the net past goalie Peter Budaj off Simon’s skate. After a short review, the goal stood.
MacDonald then put the Flames up when he swatted a pass from Donovan past Budaj at 12:14. Iginla set up Langkow for an easy tap-in goal to make it 4-2 with 1:15 to go.
Colorado defenseman Rob Blake admitted the Flames’ forechecking was, at times, too much for the Avalanche defense to handle.
“When you spend that much time in your zone running around, (the puck’s) bound to be in the back of your net sooner or later,” he said.
“They came out and outworked us,” he said. “They were flying in the second and we didn’t match it.”
After McCormick scored to pull Colorado within one nearly 6 minutes into the third, Donovan scored into the top corner over Budaj’s outstretched glove hand near the midpoint of the period.
Lombardi rounded out the scoring with his penalty shot goal with 8 1/2 minutes left.
Shortly after that, Vitaliy Kolesnik replaced Budaj, who finished with 23 saves.
Kobasew opened the scoring for Calgary with a power-play goal 3:11 into the game. After taking a pass from Lombardi, Kobasew circled behind the net and then out front before directing a shot off the back of Budaj’s leg and into the net.
Sakic tied the game during a Colorado power play at 14:26 when he took a pass from Hejduk and quickly backhanded a shot past Kiprusoff.
On his next shift, Sakic slapped in a rebound past Kiprusoff to put the Avalanche up 2-1.
: Sakic stretched his point streak to nine games. He has eight goals and nine assists during that stretch. Sakic is now one goal behind Mike Bossy (573) for 17th place on the NHL’s all-time goal-scoring list. … Although Calgary forward Darren McCarty dressed for the game, he didn’t take a shift because of a groin injury. … The Flames were without defensemen Jordan Leopold (groin) and Rhett Warrener (knee) and forwards Mike Leclerc (wrist), Marcus Nilson (knee) and Jamie Lundmark (eye). … Colorado defenseman Karlis Skrastins stretched his consecutive games played streak to 425 contests, which is the second longest streak among defensemen in NHL history behind Tim Horton’s mark of 486.
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