Jarome Iginla, Dion Phaneuf, and Matthew Lombardi each scored with the extra man as the Flames built up a 3-0 lead and cruised to a 5-2 victory over the division rival Colorado Avalanche.
The Flames came into the game with the 26th-ranked power play in the 30-team league, then went 3-for-5 with the extra man Tuesday. It may as well have been 4-for-5 considering their fourth goal came just one second after a power play had ended and before the Avalanche player could get back in the play.
“We were getting away from the things that we do well,” Lombardi said. “Tonight, we got back to doing those little things like getting pucks through, having guys in front, picking up rebounds, and taking pucks to the net.”
Roman Hamrlik and former Avalanche star Alex Tanguay also scored for Calgary (11-10-2).
The Flames rebound from back-to-back road defeats to win its sixth in a row at the Pengrowth Saddledome. Calgary is now tied with the Avalanche in the tight Northwest Division.
“It was a good night on the power play. We were moving it better and creating more time and space for everybody,” Iginla said. “We knew this was a huge game for us.”
Rookies Paul Stastny and Wojtek Wolski scored third period goals for Colorado (11-11-2). Both players rank in the top four in NHL rookie scoring. The Avalanche continues its Western Canadian road trip Thursday night in Edmonton.
“When you’re playing within your division, that’s four points that we just lost,” Stastny said. “Now we have to forget about that and look forward to Edmonton.”
A pivotal stretch in the game came early in the second with Calgary up 1-0, when Stastny was sent off for high-sticking while Brett Clark was assessed a holding penalty on the same play.
The Flames needed only 18 seconds to score on the 5-on-3 power play, with Phaneuf one-timing a hard slapshot past Jose Theodore from the blue-line at 3:15.
“That’s his game right there, he’s got that heavy shot,” said Lombardi.
A minute and 25 seconds later and with the Avalanche still down a man, Lombardi was at the side of the net to knock in Chuck Kobasew’s rebound to give Calgary a three-goal cushion.
“We didn’t come out as hard as we wanted to and we took some penalties that came back to haunt us,” Stastny said. “They basically had four power play goals and it’s tough to come back when you’re down 4-0.”
Calgary struck first at 14:51 of the first period when Iginla scored his team-leading 12th goal with nine seconds left in a double-minor to Marek Svatos for high-sticking.
“They got the momentum on the power-play then they scored those two goals in less than two minutes there and that’s really hard,” Wolski said.
The Flames lead was up to 4-0 in the third period when Stastny banged in puck a from a scramble 59 seconds into the period with the Avalanche enjoying a two-man advantage.
Tanguay, in his first game against his former team, restored Calgary’s four goal lead at 4:07 whipping in a shot from the slot.
“Obviously, lots of good memories when I was in Colorado. That’s the first time I played those guys and I certainly wanted to do well,” Tanguay said. “We’re fortunate enough we played well tonight. We needed those points desperately.”
Tanguay also gave the credit to the special teams play.
“We’ve lost a lot of games since the start of the year because of our special units. Our penalty kill was allowing too many goals and we weren’t scoring enough on the power play. Tonight was just a big game from our special units,” Tanguay said.
Miikka Kiprusoff finished with 23 saves while the much busier Theodore had 32 stops.
Notes: Kiprusoff’s 77th career victory with the Flames moves him past Phil Myre into fourth spot for most career wins. … Calgary improves to 6-0 when Tanguay had a multiple point game. … Calgary LW Jeff Friesen has gone 35 games without a goal. … Former Flame Jordan Leopold, recovering from hernia surgery, is expected to make his Colorado debut Saturday night in Vancouver.