"They played us really strong last week, or two weeks ago. They outplayed us and if it wasn't for some big efforts late and some lucky bounces, our season might be over," Tom Kostopoulos said. "We can't underestimate them at all. They're a good team. They're playing well. For them to beat Vancouver twice is pretty impressive. We've got to play our best game of season tonight."
The last time these two teams met was Mar. 26 when the Flames managed to come back from a 4-1 deficit in the third period. The Flames know they can't be so casual tonight against their divisional rival.
"They were playing with some confidence in that last game we played them up in Edmonton," blueliner Cory Sarich said. "Didn't get off to the start we wanted so we're going to have to make sure that's a priority tonight."
Penalties continued to be an issue for both sides in the final period. The Ducks handed the Flames a lengthy 5-on-3 and they didn't waste it. Giordano scored his eighth of the season with a bomb from the blueline. Iginla and Tanguay assisted on the tally.
The Flames continued to press as the period wore on but couldn't find the equalizer, dropping a proverbial four-point game. Corey Perry added an empty-netter for his 46th of the season.
"It's really irrelevant who you're playing right now," head coach Brent Sutter said after the team's optional skate. "You've got to win every game. But you've got to take it one at a time, pick away at it and focus in on the one game. When it's over, you get ready for the next. We have to make sure that our focus is proper and not get caught up again in who are opponent is going to be come Friday or Sunday. Let's just worry about our opponent tonight."
"We dug ourselves a bit of a hole. We let some teams get back in the hunt," said Rene Bourque. "This is obviously a big game for us. We need to get two points. There's really no other way to explain it."
The Avalanche have been basement dwellers for a good chunk of the season but the Flames aren't taking their opponents lightly.
"They've been in tough since a little before the deadline but the had a pretty strong game last night," Bourque stated. "They gave up a lead in the third. They're still capable of winning games.
"We need to get points, it doesn't matter who we're playing. We have to be ready and focused to win."
The scoring came fast and furious in the early part of the period. Keith Yandle was able to bounce a shot off of Jay Bouwmeester's leg to make it 3-1 at 1:53. Then, at 2:12, Michal Rozsival snapped a point shot through at a crowd that evaded Kiprusoff's eye.
The Flames answered with a power play marker from Mikael Backlund. The youngster's 9th of the year came at 3:09 with assists going to Mark Giordano and Jarome Iginla.
Calgary didn't stop there. Alex Tanguay wired an incredible sharp angle shot past Bryzgalov at 9:28 to cut the Coyotes lead to a single goal. Helpers went to Bourque and Bouwmeester.
The forward was taking part in a drill when he hit a rut in the ice. He landed awkwardly on his ankle and immediately left the ice.
On Tuesday morning, head coach Brent Sutter confirmed Moss would not be able to suit up against the Coyotes.
"He's not going to play tonight. It's something that is indefinite. We're going to have to try some different things. It changes things as far as personnel and where they play. It doesn't change what we have to do as a team.
The Canucks kept the pressure up early in the second period and it paid off. Daniel Sedin scored the equalizer at 9:46 when he was able to skate into the slot unattended and wire home a Henrik Sedin pass from behind the net.
Calgary's top line responded in fine fashion, however. After gaining possession in the Canucks zone, the trio was able to get the puck on net after a nice cycling play. Jarome Iginla and David Moss crashed the net after realizing Luongo didn't have a handle on the puck and after some digging, Moss was able to bury it to make it 3-2.
The back-and-forth affair continued as Alex Burrows tipped a shot past Kiprusoff at 15:41 of the period.
The Canucks gained the lead late when Rene Bourque was called for tripping in the neutral zone. D. Sedin scored his second of the night on the power play, making it 4-3.
However, Saturday's matchup against the boys from the west coast isn't shaping up like it usually does.
"Usually when it's Vancouver, we hype it up and we get excited," captain Jarome Iginla said. "It's not really 'Oh, we have Vancouver tonight.' Every game right now, it's somebody around us in the playoffs ... We're just ready to play."
Glencross gave the Flames the go-ahead goal after he was able to collect Jay Bouwmeester's rebound at the side of the net and throw over Rinne. His 22nd tally of the season came at 10:23. Jokinen also assisted on the Flames third goal of the night, giving him his second point of the night.
Rene Bourque nearly made it a 4-2 game in the dying minute when he sent a shot towards the empty net in the neutral zone but it hit the post. It was the fourth post the Flames hit in the game.
Shots overall were 36-23 Flames.
"I feel better today, a lot better than I did Friday afternoon. I'm excited to play again," Backlund said after the pregame skate. "Of course with Mo out, we need our centers to step up and play better."
Head coach Brent Sutter has never been shy to mix up his lines so it's likely Backlund will play with at least two different sets of wingers tonight. The potential of having different linemates each shift isn't something that bothers the young forward. Instead, he relishes the opportunity.
"You can't really focus on who you're playing with. You've got to focus, just on the next shift and go out and play the same game. It doesn't matter who you're playing with, go out and play hard."