NHL Game Summary - Colorado at Calgary
(Thursday, February 15th)
Final Score: Colorado 7, Calgary 5
Calgary, AB (Sports Network) - Milan Hejduk's hat trick propelled the Colorado Avalanche to a come-from-behind 7-5 victory over the Calgary Flames, in the opener of back-to-back contests between the teams at Pengrowth Saddledome.
Joe Sakic scored twice, including his 600th career goal, and also added three assists for the Avalanche, winners in two straight and three of five.
Andrew Brunette notched a goal and two assists, Brett Clark added a goal and one assist, and both Brad Richardson and Karlis Skrastins had a pair of helpers.
Jose Theodore picked up the win, stopping eight-of-nine shots in relief of starter Peter Budaj. Budaj was pulled after giving up four goals on 20 shots in just over 35 minutes of action.
"It was a crazy game but it's two points for us," Hejduk said. "Every game is like a playoff game, that's how we treat every game and it was a good start for us."
Jarome Iginla posted two goals and for the Flames, who have dropped five of their last six. Alex Tanguay picked up three assists, Craig Conroy had a goal and two helpers, and Matt Lombardi tallied twice.
Roman Hamrlik chipped in a pair of assists and Miikka Kiprusoff took the loss, stopping 29-of-35 shots.
"It's a bad game for us," Iginla admitted. "When you have a two-goal lead twice at home, these are games you have to win. You give them credit that they came back in the second period, where we got a little bit sloppy. It was a back-and-forth game, and tonight as a group of five we weren't very strong in our zone."
Both teams face-off again on Saturday in Calgary, then once more next Tuesday in Denver.
After a see-saw contest resulted in a 5-5 deadlock, Hejduk put the Avs up 6-5 with 9:44 to go, completing his third-career three-goal game with a pretty deflection of Ken Klee's right-point drive for his 21st goal of the season.
Sakic then made history as the 17th player to reach the 600-goal plateau with an empty-net clincher 10 seconds before the final buzzer, giving the Avs a hard-fought victory.
"The opportunity was there and it's not something you'd write up, but I'll take it," said Sakic. "We got a real close team and it's a pleasure to play here. I don't know what it is with these two teams and the high scores, but we have to find another way to win again on Saturday."
It was a must-win contest for Colorado, which sits in last place in the Northwest Division, and which started the game 10 points behind Calgary.
Iginla notched his 26th of the season at 9:48 of the opening period with a blistering one-timer from the left faceoff dot off a perfect pass by former Avs forward Tanguay.
Conroy followed a little more than two minutes later by putting home the rebound of Tanguay's shot from just outside the crease for a 2-0 Flames advantage.
Sakic brought the Avs within 2-1 with 21 seconds left in the first, one- timing a centering pass by Brunette and slamming it through Kiprusoff.
Brunette and Sakic teamed up to tie the game at 2-2 with 5:47 played in the second period. Sakic held the puck behind the Flames' net unchallenged for almost 10 seconds before moving in front and centering to Brunette, who tapped the puck home from the opposite side of the crease.
Under two minutes later, Calgary was back on top 3-2 as Lombardi outraced two Avalanche players down the left side, crossed through the slot to pull Budaj way out of the net, and slid a backhander into a wide-open net.
Iginla then unleashed another one-timer off a Tanguay feed for a 4-2 Calgary lead with 4:51 left in the period, and Budaj gave way to Theodore.
Colorado was jolted to life following the switch, and rallied once again to tie the game, 4-4 by the end of the period.
With 2:27 to go, and Dion Phaneuf in the penalty box, Hejduk roofed a shot from the top of the left circle to bring the Avs back within a goal -- with help from Sakic and Brunette once again. The Czech sniper struck again with 42.7 seconds remaining, banking a rolling puck from behind the goal line off Kiprusoff's leg and into the cage.
After completing a two-goal rally to knot the game after 40 minutes of play, Clark registered Colorado's fifth goal of the night on a disputed call 6:54 into the third.
The defenseman let an off-balance shot go from the slot which trickled past Kiprusoff and wobbled towards the net. The puck appeared to make it all the way over the goal line before Flames defenseman Rhett Warrener swept it out with his stick, but play continued as the nearest official waved it off.
Upon review, the goal was allowed and the Avalanche took their first lead of the night.
Calgary came right back for a 5-5 tie as a failed clearing attempt caromed off the right-side boards and also hit forward Wayne Primeau before Lombardi corralled the disc in the slot, where he blew a 30-footer past Theodore at 8:51.
The Avalanche broke a five-game losing streak against the Flames, winning for the first time this season, and Colorado also improved to 29-23-8 overall against Calgary since 1995-96...Colorado placed veteran forward Pierre Turgeon on injured reserve before the contest...Sakic's goals were his 34th and 35th career tallies against the Flames, the most he has scored against any one team...Hejduk's last trifecta came on March 8, 2004 in a 9-2 win over Vancouver...Avs forward Brad May also picked up two assists.
02/16 01:07:23 ET