DENVER – Paul Stastny and Wojtek Wolski have become quite a 1-2 punch for the Colorado Avalanche.
Milan Hejduk isn’t a bad third wheel, either. Stastny scored two goals and Wolski added a goal and two assists to help the Avalanche beat the Calgary Flames 4-1 on Monday night. Hejduk had three assists for Colorado, which has beaten the Flames in seven straight games.
“We are comfortable with each other,” said Stastny, who had his first multigoal game since his hat trick opening night. “We played together all last year. We have developed a comfort level.”
The trio was a combined plus-9 in addition to totalling eight points Monday night. Jose Theodore stopped 23 shots for the victory.
“We’re clicking right now,” Wolski said. “The effort is there and good chances come from good effort. We work well together, too. This isn’t something that happened overnight. It took time.”
The chemistry was apparent on Stastny’s first goal of the game. Hejduk skated into the Calgary zone and sent a pass across to Wolski, who fed Stastny in front of the Flames’ net. Stastny’s backhander gave Colorado a 3-1 lead 45 seconds into the third period.
Nine minutes later, he knocked in a loose puck for his seventh goal of the season and chased Calgary goalie Miikka Kiprusoff.
“It’s easy when you play with Wolski and Hejduk,” Stastny said. “They’re just as hungry as I am to get goals and chances.”
Kiprusoff had 30 saves before leaving with 9:22 left in the game.
“He played really well for us,” Calgary head coach Mike Keenan said. “Pulling him had nothing to do with him.”
Losing to Colorado has become routine for the Flames, although this loss was different from the Avalanche’s shootout win Oct. 16. That night, Calgary blew a 4-0 first-period lead and lost 5-4.
Oct. 26 in Calgary, Colorado trailed 2-1 with 4:15 left but rallied to win 3-2 in overtime.
“I thought the first two of the season, we let get away from us,” Calgary forward Jarome Iginla said. “We controlled most of those first two games. This was a game that, right from the start, they outworked us, out competed us, and it’s just not good enough.”
Monday’s game was up for grabs until Wolski gave Colorado a 2-1 lead at the 11:15 mark of the second period. Hejduk skated down the right side of the Calgary zone, slid the puck to Wolski, who tipped it between the legs of Kiprusoff for his sixth goal of the season.
Alex Tanguay’s power-play goal 4:39 into the game gave the Flames a 1-0 lead. Tanguay picked up a loose puck between the circles, swung around and fired a shot past Theodore for his fifth goal of the season.
The Avalanche tied it on the power play with 3:51 left in the opening period when Brunette tipped in a Joe Sakic pass that was deflected by Ryan Smyth.
“I thought our game was very strong,” Avalanche head coach Joel Quenneville said. “We got something from all the lines.”
The game was tied 1-1 after the first period despite Colorado’s 17-6 advantage in shots. Calgary was called for five penalties in the opening frame, including two in a 47-second span that gave the Avalanche a 5-on-3 advantage of 1:13. The Flames killed off that power play before allowing Brunette’s goal with Craig Conroy in the penalty box for hooking.
The Avalanche outshot the Flames 36-24.
Notes: The Flames’ last win over the Avalanche was a 5-2 victory in Calgary on Feb. 17. … Sakic extended his points streak to eight games. … Smyth notched his 300th career assist on Brunette’s goal in the first period.