(AP Photo/Larry MacDougal,CP via Yahoo! Sports)
Sean Donovan played a great game and scored a key goal midway through the 3rd period to lead the Calgary Flames to a 6-3 victory over the Colorado Avalanche. The win gives Calgary sole possession of 1st place in the Northwest Division with 90 points.
The Colorado Avalanche came to town and received anything but a warm welcome from the Calgary Flames. Calgary’s Chuck Kobasew scored three minutes into the 1st period and Calgary kept the pressure on the visiting Avalanche. A shaky Peter Budaj got some breathing room in net midway through the 1st period as Colorado’s Joe Sakic notched his 29th and30th goals a quick 25 seconds apart to give the Avalanche a one-goal lead.
But the welcome turned even colder in the 2nd period as Calgary scored 3 unanswered goals to take a 4-2 lead. Calgary was relentless in their pressure, and took advantage of poor positioning by Colorado’s defence and weak goaltending by Budaj. Chris Simon, Craig Macdonald and Daymond Langkow all scored for Calgary.
Colorado’s Craig McCormick gave the Avalanche some hope with a goal 5 minutes into the 3rd period. But it was short lived. Sean Donovan drove home the dagger 4 minutes later to regain the 2-goal lead for the Flames, then Matthew Lombardi scored his 6th of the season on a penalty shot with less than 9 minutes left in the game. Calgary utilized its league-leading defence to shut down Colorado for the rest of the game.
The Flames and Avalanche were playing playoff-style hockey as the race for 1st place in the Northwest Division heats up. They stayed out of the penalty box for most of the game and played a disciplined, high-energy game. But it was Calgary’s energy that prevailed.
The Flames seems to be rejuvenated at home after their tough 7-game road trip. The rest of their schedule is much friendlier with less travel. Calgary has 9 games remaining (5 home and 4 away). After a trip to Edmonton tomorrow night for a Hockey Night in Canada showdown the Flames return home to face Detroit, Phoenix and Minnesota next week. They then go to Vancouver for a game and return home to wait for Anaheim and Colorado. The Flames will finish their season on the road in LA and Anaheim.
CGY: Kobasew (20) A: Lombardi, Amonte
COL: Sakic (29) A: Hejduk, Blake
COL: Sakic (30) A: Hejduk, Brunette
CGY: Simon (7)
CGY: Macdonald (3) A: Donovan
CGY: Langkow (22) A: Iginla, Simon
COL: McCormick (3) A: McLean, Hinote
CGY: Donovan (8) A: Regehr
CGY: Lombardi (Penalty Shot)