The Calgary Flames jumped out to a 4-0 lead and Miikka Kiprusoff stopped 35 shots to give the Flames a 4-3 win in Denver tonight.
Paul Byron opened the scoring for the Flames early in the first period on a hard-working drive to the net. He worked a nice give-and-go with Derek Smith, who had jumped up on the rush, and received the pass just in front of the Avs net. Byron fired the puck past Semyon Varlamov to give the Flames a 1-0 lead just over 2 minutes into the period.
Jarome Iginla scored his 5th goal of the season with a back-hander three and a half minutes later to put the Flames up 2-0. Curtis Glencross completed the 3-0 first period with a goal from the slot a few seconds after Gabriel Landeskog exited the penalty box after serving two minutes for hooking.
Lee Stempniak increased Calgary’s lead to 4-0 mid way through the 2nd period, but the big lead was short-lived as Colorado finally got on the board with an uncommon goal. Milan Hejduk shot from just inside the blue line while on a rush and just as Kipper was about to grab it in his trapper, Jan Hejda swiped at the puck which tumbled out of Kipper’s glove and into the net. The goal was reviewed, and though it originally looked like Hejda tapped the puck with a high stick, it was credited to Hejduk.
Colorado put in a solid comeback effort and scored another goal early in the 3rd period. Matt Duchene notched his 6th of the year with a nice shot that beat Kiprusoff high to narrow the lead to 2 goals. Though they weren’t able to capitalize on three straight powerplays, Colorado’s forecheking paid off late in the game. There was a lot of play in the Flames’ end in the 3rd period and the Avs added a 3rd goal when David Jones tipped Ryan O’Reilly’s point shot past Kipper into the net.
However, it was as close as the Avalanche would come. Kipper shut the door and kept his team ahead until literally the final buzzer. Calgary’s goalkeeper made 16 saves in the 3rd period, and too many of them were in the last 2 minutes of the game as the Flames collapsed in what has become their signature finish to the game: let the other team shoot as many times as possible and allow their goalie steal another win. As he so often does, Miikka gave his team the win, which is the 3rd straight victory over the Avs this season.