DENVER – The Calgary Flames reached the .500 mark Sunday, but if they played the Colorado Avalanche more often they might have the best record in the NHL.
Miikka Kiprusoff stopped 32 shots, Mark Giordano and Curtis Glencross each had a goal and the Calgary Flames beat the Colorado Avalanche 2-1 on Sunday night.
It was Calgary’s seventh straight win against the Avalanche, including two this season. Colorado last beat Calgary on Oct. 28, 2010, and since then the Flames have dominated the series.
“It’s no secret, we try to play the same way,” said Kiprusoff, who has been in net for all seven wins. “It’s a divisional game and big points.”
Calgary’s Alex Tanguay and Scott Hannan each had an assist against their old team.
Semyon Varlamov had 21 saves and Paul Stastny scored the lone goal for the Avalanche, which fell to 1-5 on home ice. They’ve scored just eight goals in those six home games.
“It’s frustrating to lose, period. Plus it’s at home,” Stastny said. “Whether we’re feeling extra pressure or not, I think we’ve got to bear down more. The one thing we did today, we got a goal early. But then we got away from our game.”
The Flames got the tie-breaking goal on a power play early in the second period. With Milan Hejduk off for tripping, Tanguay threw the puck to the front of the net. The puck bounced off Glencross and by Varlamov to make it 2-1. It was Glencross’ fourth goal of the season.
“Tangs tried to pass it me and the puck kind of bounced up and hit me in the arm and it went it,” Glencross said. “I tried to tuck it and cradle it to go around me. It hit me hard and ricocheted in. I’ll take it.”
The Avalanche nearly tied it halfway through the frame when Kiprusoff was out of position on a mad scramble in front of the Calgary net. But defenceman Derek Smith made a save on Gabriel Landeskog’s shot at the open net to keep the Flames in the lead.
“He’s very poised, he doesn’t seem to get rattled,” Calgary coach Brent Sutter said of Smith. “He’s an intelligent player. He just knows how to not panic. It’s in his DNA.”
Kiprusoff made the lead stand up with another strong performance. He made several key saves in the third, including one on Stastny at the doorstep midway through the frame.
The Avalanche pulled Varlamov with 50 seconds left for an extra skater and got quick shots on Kiprusoff. With 15.5 seconds left Hannan was called for tripping but Colorado couldn’t get a shot on net during the 6-on-4 power play.
“It (stinks) but we’re going to stay with it and eventually start putting some goals in,” centre Matt Duchene said. “It’s frustrating. We played a helluva third and just didn’t find one.”
The Avalanche took a 1-0 lead when Stastny scored on a rebound 34 seconds into the game, his fourth goal of the season.
“I stretched my leg and it hit my toe,” Kiprusoff said. “When you give up a rebound like that, tape to tape, there’s not much you can do.”
Calgary tied it later in the first on Giordano’s second goal of the season. Giordano skated into the Colorado end and wristed a shot around defenceman Ryan Miller with 14:41 left in the period.
“It was disappointing too because we had a great start,” Avalanche coach Joe Sacco said. “You can’t get a better shift than we had on that first goal. You have to keep skating, you have to keep working after you get that goal. You can’t just sit back and play on your heels.”
Notes: Stastny has 36 points (13 goals, 23 assists) in 32 career games against the Flames, his highest point total against any team. … Colorado has given up nine power play goals in its last seven games. … Kiprusoff appeared in his 539th game and moved into sole possession of 50th all time by an NHL goaltender. Duchene has five points in his last two games and seven points in his last five.