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Avs snap skid to keep playoff hopes alive
Calgary, AB (Sports Network) - Semyon Varlamov posted 38 stops Friday night, backstopping the Colorado Avalanche to a 4-1 victory over the Calgary Flames at Scotiabank Saddledome.
Mark Olver, David Jones, Milan Hedjuk and Peter Mueller lit the lamp and Gabriel Landeskog and Erik Johnson added two assists for the Avalanche, who snapped a four-game skid and kept their slim playoff hopes alive.
With 88 points, the Avs sit in 10th place in the Western Conference, one point behind eighth-place Phoenix. Colorado's hopes to make the postseason remain slim though, as it has only two games remaining on the regular-season schedule.
"We got off to a good start tonight, got a couple of goals and then I thought Calgary started to make a pretty strong push," Avalanche head coach Joe Sacco said. "It's a big two points for us right now, it keeps our playoff hopes alive and we'll see what happens."
Jarome Iginla scored the only goal for the Flames, who have lost seven of their last eight games. Miikka Kiprusoff gave up three goals on 23 shots in defeat.
Colorado struck first just 3:21 into the contest when Landeskog raced up the right wing on the rush and threw it across to Olver, who got a stick on the pass despite it being behind him, and poked it on goal before it hit off the stick of Flames defenseman Jay Bouwmeester and skipped past Kiprusoff.
The Avs extended their lead to 2-0 at 10:56 of the first frame. After picking up a loose puck behind the Calgary net, Jones curled all the way out to the high slot before wristing a shot through traffic and past Kiprusoff.
Colorado made it 3-0 with a power-play tally 8:29 into the second period when Landeskog feathered a soft pass to Hedjuk, and the veteran forward ripped a one-timer from the high slot past a screened Kiprusoff.
Calgary pulled Kiprusoff while on the power play to gain a 6-on-4 advantage, and Iginla broke the shutout with 38 seconds to play when he accepted a pass from Olli Jokinen in the left circle and ripped it in behind Varlamov.
Mueller sealed the win for the Avs with an empty-netter five seconds later.
"We were on our heels a lot in the first. We switched our lines and we played a better second and third," Flames head coach Brent Sutter said. "We controlled the game tonight, we had numerous scoring chances, we put pucks behind their defense, and we fore-checked."
Flames defenseman Cory Sarich returned to action on Friday after missing the previous four games due to an upper-body injury. He was minus-1 in 16 1/2 minutes of ice time...Iginla snapped a seven-game goalless drought...Colorado forward Jamie McGinn missed the game with a back injury...The Flames finished 1-for-4 on the power play, while the Avs did not receive any man advantage opportunities.
03/31 00:32:42 ET
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