The Five Takeaways: Flames vs. Avs
Five key elements from the Flames-Avs tilt
TAKEAWAY ONE: Frenetic first
After a slow start in St. Louis on Friday night, the Calgary Flames swore they'd get off to a better start in Colorado. They did just that.
The two teams exchanged chances in a fast-paced opening stanza, with the shot total favouring the Flames by a count of 11-10. Defensively, it was a tad sloppy for Calgary, a club that has prided itself on it's defensive play since their resurgence in December, but they were able amp up their offensive game.
Early on, Mikael Backlund hit a goal post. A few minutes later, Peter Budaj robbed Alex Tanguay. Late in the frame, Rene Bourque was able to skate in on a breakaway but thanks to Budaj's quick pad save, the game remained scoreless.
TAKEAWAY TWO: Stealing the second
The Flames didn't build upon their first 20 minutes of play during the second period. Instead, they sat back and the Avs went to work at trying to gain the game's first lead.
Fortunately for Calgary, Miikka Kiprusoff put on a one-man show and had what could be his best period of the year.
The Finnish netminder made clutch save after clutch save thanks to poor defensive zone coverage by the Flames. His exceptional netminding makes it hard to pin down his best save of the second frame but one that will likely make the rounds in the highlight reels is his stop on toe save on Kevin Porter.
Porter came flying towards the net, faked a shot and thought he had Kiprusoff beat when the goalie looked like had committed to a shot in the slot. Instead, Porter deked to the far side of the net and went to bury it in the open net but Kiprusoff somehow got his toe on the shot to make the stop.
Overall, shots were 18-12 and scoring opportunities were 15-6, both in favour of the home team.
TAKEAWAY THREE: Veteran presence missing
Early in the day, the Avs announced assistant captain Paul Stastny would miss the remainder of the season with stress fracture in his leg.
With Colorado coming on strong in the second period, the Flames are likely happy Stastny wasn't present on the ice. The 26 year-old has been superb when playing Calgary in his career, notching 34 points in 30 games.
TAKEAWAY FOUR: Avs killer
Jokinen has been spectacular against Colorado this season and once again, he came up big for his club.
After surviving a flurry of shots from the Avalanche in the second period, Jokinen made quick work a defensive mistake by Colorado. The homeside was unable to grab a bouncing puck that went off the backboards and when it came to the Flames pivot, who had planted himself in front of Budaj, he smacked it into the net for his 17th of the season.
The goal was Jokinen's ninth point in six games against the Avs this season.
TAKEAWAY FIVE: Gaining some help in the conference
Coming into Sunday's game, the Flames trailed the Chicago Blackhawks by three points. The boys from the Windy City were also in action, taking on the Tampa Bay Lightning. The Lightning came up with a 2-0 victory over the defending Stanley Cup champions so they stalled at 92 points.
The Flames victory gives them 91 points on the year, just a single point out of eighth.