Avalanche 3, Flames 2

The Sports Xchange
The SportsXchange

CALGARY, Alberta -- In a span of 54 seconds, the Colorado Avalanche shook off a rusty start and took control of the game en route to a 3-2 win over the Calgary Flames on Friday night at the Saddledome.
Down by a goal with time ticking away in the second period, left winger Maxime Talbot provided the spark for the Avs, netting his team's first goal with two minutes remaining in the period, and then setting up right winger PA Parenteau for the go-ahead goal less than a minute later.
Rookie center Nathan MacKinnon added a goal 2:28 into the third period, collecting a rebound from captain Gabriel Landeskog's shot and snapping it into the open side of the Flames' net with goaltender Karri Ramo unable to get across in time.
Flames left winger Michael Cammalleri fed center Matt Stajan for a goal that cut the lead to 3-2 with an extra attacker on the ice in the dying minutes, but Calgary couldn't get the equalizer.
The Flames were looking for their first three-game win streak of the season and the Avalanche were hoping to rebound from an embarrassing 8-2 loss to the Edmonton Oilers on Thursday night.
It looked promising for the Flames early on as they took advantage of a lack of discipline from the Avalanche to rack up an 11-5 edge in shots and a 1-0 lead in the first 20 minutes.
With centre John Mitchell in the penalty box for holding 12:59 minutes into the game, Flames defenseman Kris Russell sent a long shot from the point past Avalanche goaltender Jean-Sebastien Giguere, who had a difficult time seeing it because Flames right winger Lee Stempniak was parked at the top of the crease.
Giguere knocked over his net after unsuccessfully protesting to the referee and took an unsportsmanlike penalty to give the Flames another power play.
It was Russell's fourth goal of the season and 14th point in 28 games this year.
As rattled as Giguere was in the first period, his counterpart was equally shaken late in the second period once the Avalanche snapped out of their funk and crept back into the game.
Ramo misplayed the puck behind his net, coughing it up to Mitchell along the boards. Mitchell found Talbot alone in the slot for the easy goal to tie it 1-1 at the 18-minute mark.
It was Talbot's first goal as a member of the Avalanche after his trade from the Philadelphia Flyers in late October.
Talbot did the dirty work on the go-ahead goal, knocking Flames defenseman Chris Butler off the puck behind the net and jamming it at Ramo. The rebound went right to Parenteau to give the Avalanche all the momentum heading into the second intermission.
Giguere improved to 7-0 this season in limited action behind starting goaltender Semyon Varlamov.
NOTES: The Avalanche played without D Jan Hejda, who returned to Denver on Friday to have his right knee checked out. Hejda played just 3:47 in Edmonton on Thursday before leaving with the injury in the first period. ... LW Lane MacDermid played his first game with the Flames since being acquired in a trade with the Dallas Stars on Nov. 22. He dropped the gloves with LW Cody McLeod. ... Avalanche backup G Jean-Sebastien Giguere started his eighth game of the season a night after G Semyon Varlamov allowed eight goals in a loss to the Oilers in Edmonton. ... With a first-period goal, Flames D Kris Russell ended a three-game point drought. He had points in five of his previous seven games before the cold snap. ... With C Joe Colborne out with the flu and RW Brian MacGrattan nursing a lower-body injury, the Flames had to dress D Derek Smith as a fourth-line winger.

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