The Five Takeaways: Flames vs. Avalanche
Five key elements from the Flames divisional clash with the Avs
Flames netminder Miikka Kiprusoff has been an Avs killer throughout his career and came into Saturday's battle riding on a seven-game win streak over Colorado. In those seven victories, Kiprusoff had an astounding 1.60 GAA and a .946 save percentage. He bolstered those stats on Saturday night with a 36-save performance.
When the Flames recalled Paul Byron from the Abbotsford Heat, they were hoping the diminutive forward would give them an extra burst of offence with his impressive speed. He wasn't able to do that in Chicago on Friday night but his quick stride was the reason Calgary opened the scoring against the Avs.
He carried the puck into the zone, passed it off to Derek Smith and cut through the defence. Blueliner Ryan Wilson wasn't able to keep up with him so when Smith got the puck back to Byron, the youngster had the time and space to snap a great shot on net. His wrister flew over Seymon Varlamov's glove, giving Byron his first goal with the Flames.
The first period was full of blunders by Colorado defenceman and all three Flames goals were scored thanks to sloppy plays by the blueliners. A prime example of this came just a few minutes into the game.
Byron's goal was the product of bad positioning by Wilson and Erik Johnson. Neither defenceman were in the right place to quell Smith and Byron's surge into their zone so the speedy forward was able to dart between the two of them and get into a prime scoring position.
The Flames have had an extremely tough time scoring as of late despite the fact they had 66 shots on net in the two games prior to their clash with the Avs. The floodgates opened on Saturday, however, with four different players beating Varlamov.
In addition to Byron, Jarome Iginla, Curtis Glencross and Lee Stempniak scored for the Flames. Jay Bouwmeester, Alex Tanguay, Roman Horak and Smith chipped in offensively with assists, pushing the number of Flames with points in Colorado to eight.
After a disastrous opening period, the Avs picked up the pace in the second frame and pushed the pedal to the metal in third. They were able to claw themselves back to within a single goal thanks an aggressive forecheck but their full court press was halted by a sensational performance by Kiprusoff. The netminder absolutely stoned the Avs on several quality scoring opportunities, including a couple on a late Colorado power play.