DENVER -- The losing has worn on Colorado and Calgary, and while the Flames could finally celebrate a rare road victory, Avalanche goalie Jean-Sebastien Giguere was in a slow boil in the next room.
The veteran netminder has captured a Stanley Cup, and he understands what it takes to win. So the Avalanche's bottom-out season finally hit the tipping point with him after a 3-1 setback to Calgary on Monday.
After the game, he didn't hold back in criticizing his younger teammates.
"Some guys are more worried about their Vegas trip at the end of the season than playing the remaining games," he said after Colorado's 12th loss in 14 games. "Quite frankly, I don't care about your Vegas trip right now. It's not constructive. We have to find a way to get out of this losing mentality. It starts by me and the next guy beside me, and everybody's got to do their part.
"It's embarrassing. I'm embarrassed to be here right now. It's not even funny."
The way the season has gone for both teams has been anything but laughable.
Both teams have struggled since the beginning of March. Colorado has gone 2-11-1 after reaching the .500 mark on March 10, and Calgary has won just four times since March 8.
The Flames' futility on the road has been a big factor in the team's decline. Calgary came into Monday having gone 0-12-1 away from home, including a 5-4 loss at Colorado on Feb. 28.
The struggles have landed both teams at the bottom of the Western Conference -- and the NHL. Colorado, with 29 points, is last in the league, and the Flames are tied with Florida for 28th with 32 points each.
Thanks to a strong effort by goalie Joey MacDonald, who stopped 39 shots, and goals by Roman Cervenka, Mike Cammalleri and Alex Tanguay, the Flames enjoyed a road win for the first time since Feb. 17.
"It's been frustrating for a while with this team," Tanguay said. "We've had plenty of distraction with everything that's been surrounding the team."
The biggest distraction has been the mass exodus. In the span of a week starting March 27, the Flames traded captain and franchise icon Jarome Iginla, defenseman Jay Bouwmeester and forward Blake Comeau. The purge has reshaped the roster with young players trying to make a mark.
They finally did by ending the road losing streak.
"I felt we could have deserved better, but if that's the price for learning, then so be it," Calgary coach Bob Hartley said.
It looked like another tough night for the Flames when Brad Malone gave Colorado a 1-0 lead with his first NHL goal 1:45 into the second period.
His celebration didn't last long. Cervenka scored midway through the period to tie it, and Cammalleri put the Flames ahead 2-1 with his 12th goal at 16:53 of the second.
Colorado had chances in the third but couldn't beat MacDonald, who has defeated the Avalanche in two straight starts after losing his first four against them. He had four saves on a late Colorado power play, and Tanguay iced the game with a short-handed goal, his 11th of the season, with 3:19 left.
The come-from-ahead loss, in a game that saw Colorado take eight penalties and still outshoot the Flames 40-34, was the breaking point for Giguere. The 35-year-old, who is the second-oldest player on the team, didn't hold back after the game.
"It comes down to us not playing very well defensively. We spend too much time in our own zone. That's hard," said Giguere, who made 31 saves. "We know we can score some goals, we have some offensive tools, but when you spent part of your second period and you give them too many scoring chances, it's not going to win games like that.
"We talk about it every day. At some point we have to understand. There's no more excuse. It's not about being young; we have to put our head into the game."
NOTES: The game was played with one referee for nearly two minutes early in the third after Brad Meier was hit in the left leg by a hard clear along the boards with 15:43 left. Meier was down on the ice for a while before being taken to the Avalanche training room. He returned with 13:50 remaining. ... Colorado goalie Semyon Varlamov was scratched from the start due to a minor hip injury. He is day-to-day. ... Avalanche forward David Jones returned to the lineup after missing the previous eight games. Jones missed five of those games with a knee injury and was a healthy scratch for three, including the past two. ... The Flames won seven of their previous 10 in Colorado but lost the last two in Denver coming into Monday. ... Avalanche center Paul Stastny began skating. He has missed the past eight games with a foot injury suffered against the Vancouver Canucks on March 24.