CALGARY – Todd Bertuzzi scored twice Tuesday night as the Calgary Flames collected their first win of the season, hanging on for a 5-4 victory over the still winless Colorado Avalanche.
Jarome Iginla’s first goal of the season at 7:23 of the third period gave the Flames a 4-3 lead. On a Colorado power-play, the Flames captain fired a snapshot into the top corner on Peter Budaj.
Four minutes later, Calgary went ahead by two when Iginla’s shot from the right wing was kicked out right to Bertuzzi, who slapped the rebound into the open side.
The Avalanche got back to within one just 18 seconds later when Ben Guite’s 60-foot one-hop wrist shot was muffed by Miikka Kiprusoff.
Colorado then got a power-play to try and draw even but they couldn’t get the tying goal.
Calgary finally won after opening the season with a pair of losses, one in overtime, to the Vancouver Canucks.
Dustin Boyd and Craig Conroy also scored for Calgary (1-1-1). At .500, the notorious slow-starting Flames are off to their fastest start since 2003-04.
Rounding out the scoring for Colorado (0-3-0) was Cody McLeod, John-Michael Liles, and Ryan Smyth.
Calgary outshot the Avalanche 35-29 in a game in which neither goalie played that well.
Budaj has started all three of Colorado’s games, and has surrendered 13 goals on 74 shots.
Kiprusoff also has not been spectacular, giving up at least four goals in three consecutive starts for just the second time in his career. The first time was during a three-game stretch in December, 2005.
After the teams combined for five goals in the first period, the lone goal of the second came off the stick of Smyth, who tied it for Colorado on a power play at 9:00 after one-timing in a perfect feed from Paul Stastny.
Stastny was also the central playmaker on the power-play goal with 30 seconds left in the first period that got the Avalanche back to within a goal. Flames defenceman Marc Giordano got caught up the ice after an ill-timed bodycheck attempt. On the subsequent odd-man rush, Stastny dropped the puck into the slot for Liles who whipped a shot into the top corner.
Calgary opened the night with the NHL’s worst power-play at 0-for-13 but Colorado’s league-worst penalty killing unit proved the perfect tonic as the Flames converted its first two power play chances to open an early 2-0 lead.
Boyd gave Calgary a 1-0 lead at 3:21 from a mad scramble in front of the Colorado net. By the time Boyd was able to find the loose puck amongst the crowd and whack it past Budaj, two Avalanche skaters were flat on the ice along with their goaltender.
Budaj himself was the lone culprit on the next goal. Mike Cammalleri’s shot deflected high up in the air. Camping under it with his glove extended like a baseball outfielder, the puck bounced off the edge of his glove and right into the slot where Bertuzzi promptly fired it into the net at 4:17.
After McLeod knocked in Cody McCormick’s rebound to get Colorado on the scoreboard, Conroy restored the Flames two goal cushion taking a pass from Curtis Glencross and zipping a backhand through Budaj’s legs as he cut across the slot.
Calgary finished 3-for-7 with the extra man while the Avalanche went 2-for-6.
Colorado has yielded five power-play goals on 12 chances to start the season.
Notes: Iginla got in a fight for the second straight game, this time going with McCormick. He had two fights before collecting his first point.. On the day of the federal election in Canada, Prime Minister Stephen Harper, along with his 12-year-old son Ben, spent Tuesday morning at the Pengrowth Saddledome watching the Flames practice.. Colorado RW Marek Svatos did not play due to an undisclosed injury.. Calgary C Matthew Lombardi played in his 300th career NHL game.