Lee Stempniak, Curtis Glencross and Olli Jokinen all scored their eighth goals of the season in the third period for the Flames, who came from behind for a 3-2 victory over the Avalanche on Thursday night.
Morrison didn’t score in the game, but had valuable assists in the Flames’ ninth straight victory over Colorado on and off the ice.
Not only did the 36-year-old Morrison set up both Flames power-play goals, which gave Calgary a 2-1 lead, his second-intermission rallying cry turned around the fortunes of a slumbering power play.
The Flames were mired in 1-for-35 slump over eight-plus home games, including 0-for-5 in the first two periods on Thursday, but the power-play unit broke out in a big way, connecting on both ends of a high-sticking double minor to T.J. Galiardi in the third period.
Stempniak scored at 6:21, and Glencross followed 1:26 later with the help of Morrison.
“Our power play produced, which was very good,” Flames coach Brent Sutter said. “It was a hunch to put (Morrison), Glencross and Stempniak together to change the pace a little bit, and it worked for us.”
Morrison was mostly a spectator during the Flames’ first five power plays, logging only 46 seconds of ice time. That gave him lots of time to watch from the bench, and he noticed a few things that he brought up during the second intermission.
“I was just watching the game on the bench and thought I saw something on the power play that could help,” Morrison said. “It’s funny how it goes sometimes. You get a chance and score a goal.”
Morrison had been a healthy scratch for five games before a touch of the flu sidelined Glencross and paved the way for Morrison’s return to the lineup. He had two goals and two assists in a 7-6 win over Carolina on Tuesday.
Sutter kept Morrison in the lineup Thursday and it paid off, notably in the dressing room.
“He took the pen and actually showed us how it’s done, and then he goes out there and gets a couple of helpers. We call him Reggie Dunlop now. That’s his new nickname,” said Jokinen, in reference to the player-coach played by actor Paul Newman in the film “Slap Shot.”
Morrison shrugged off the postgame attention.
“There might have been a little drawing on the board,” Morrison said. “After watching early power plays falter, I said they needed to work the puck down low. They’re really aggressive on the halfway guy, so I figured if we could get the puck down low, we could make something happen.”
Calgary (13-13-2) is 5-1-1 in its last seven games and is playing its best hockey of the season. With the victory, the Flames passed the Avalanche in the Northwest Division standings.
Matt Duchene and Galiardi scored for the Avalanche (13-14-1), who have lost seven straight road games (0-6-1) after winning a franchise-record six consecutive victories away from home to start the season.
“We talked about it going into the third that we have to stay out of the box. If you give them too many chances on the power play, it’s eventually going to go against you,” Colorado goalie Jean-Sebastien Giguere said. “The guys did a good job for the most part on the PK, but you can’t give a team too many chances like that.”
Colorado will finish its three-game Western Canada trip on Friday at Edmonton. The Avalanche lost 6-0 at Vancouver on Tuesday night.
“We turned the puck over too much. You can’t generate offense when you’re turning the puck over as much as we were tonight,” Avalanche coach Joe Sacco said.
Atoning for his costly penalty earlier in the period, Galiardi got the Avalanche back even at 2-2 at 9:58 of the third.
Jokinen scored the go-ahead goal with 4:50 left, finishing a three-way passing play that started with Glencross and ended with Jarome Iginla’s cross-ice feed. Jokinen took the Flames captain’s pass and fired a shot inside the near post before Giguere could get all the way across.
“We just had to stick with it and break our opposition,” Stempniak said. “It was huge to get those two goals on the power play as then we had something to build on.”
Miikka Kiprusoff made 16 saves in the win. Giguere stopped 32 shots.
The game was scoreless for the first 35 minutes before Duchene’s 10th goal gave the Avalanche a 1-0 lead.
NOTES: The return of Glencross (flu) bumped rookie C Roman Horak out of the lineup. Glencross rejoined a line with Iginla and Jokinen. Morrison, who had four points in that spot Tuesday, moved to center between Alex Tanguay and Rene Bourque. … Colorado linemates Chuck Kobasew and Jay McClement both played in career game No. 500. … The Avalanche were without D Ryan Wilson (head) and C Kevin Porter, who began serving his four-game suspension for a knee-on-knee hit on Vancouver’s David Booth. … Calgary won for just the second time when trailing after two periods (2-10). … It was Calgary’s ninth straight win over Colorado. … The Flames are last in power-play efficiency at home.