Kostopoulos, Jackman help Calgary Flames hold off Colorado Avalanche 3-2

CALGARY – A pair of unlikely heroes led the Calgary Flames to their third straight win.

Tom Kostopoulos and Tim Jackman had a goal and an assist each to lead the Flames to a 3-2 win over the Colorado Avalanche on Friday night.

The Flames (17-18-3) won for the first time since Jay Feaster took over as acting general manager after Darryl Sutter resigned on Tuesday.

“We feel like we’ve been playing hard and with a little bit of chemistry for a few games now,”said Kostopoulos, while also giving credit to David Moss who plays centre on the line.“We seem to have a few bounces go in for us so it’s nice that way. Moss and Jackman work hard every night so it’s a lot of fun playing with them.”

Jackman, who signed as a free agent with the Flames in the off-season, said the trio has been able to make the most of their opportunities lately.

“We’ve just been generating some offence, getting the forecheck going,”Jackman said.“It was nice tonight to be able to chip in a little bit.”

Calgary coach Brent Sutter was pleased with the play of his fourth line against the Avalanche.

“They played extremely well again,”Sutter said.“They have just carried on the way they have been playing and that was just two huge goals for us tonight. I was very pleased with their play. It’s an energy line that works and competes hard and does it to the details. They play the way we want them to play and they were rewarded for it.”

Jarome Iginla also scored for the Flames, while goalie Miikka Kiprusoff made 19 saves in net to record the victory.

After Colorado fell behind 3-0, Daniel Winnik and Tomas Fleischmann scored third-period goals for the Avalanche (20-13-5), who beat the Edmonton Oilers 4-3 in a shootout win on Thursday night.

“We were pretty resilient there in the third period, but it wasn’t enough,”said Colorado coach Joe Sacco.“It was a little bit too little, too late. At the end of the day it just wasn’t good enough.”

Colorado netminder Craig Anderson stopped 20 shots.

Neither team could get much going in the first period in which Colorado outshot Calgary 8-7.

It took the Flames until nearly the eight-minute mark of the first period for them to get their first shot on goal by Rene Bourque, which Anderson had no problem turning aside.

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At the other end of the ice, Kiprusoff stood his ground to make a pad save on a slapshot off the stick of Colorado forward T.J. Galiardi.

Kostopoulos finally opened the scoring at 5:53 of the second period when he drove to the net and swatted a rebound past Anderson.

Just 42 seconds later, Iginla took a drop pass from Alex Tanguay and wired a shot through traffic past Anderson to put Calgary up 2-0.

A short time later, Kiprusoff slid across his crease and made a nice arm save to thwart a scoring attempt by Colorado forward Matt Hunwick. Linemate Kevin Porter then swatted the rebound towards the net but it hit Calgary defenceman Adam Pardy in the leg and trickled wide.

Jackman then put Calgary up by three when he took a breakaway pass from Anton Babchuk before sliding a shot under Anderson at 13:23 of the second period.

“I haven’t had too many breakaways so it’s nice,”said Jackman.“I was going to shoot it and then the guy hooked me and I just stayed there and slammed it home. That’s about it.”

Winnik got Colorado on the scoreboard with a short-handed goal at 7:45 of the third period. While falling to the ice, Winnik backhanded a shot through Kiprusoff’s legs to end the Calgary goalie’s shut-out bid.

Fleischmann then backhanded a shot past Kiprusoff with 2:32 left in regulation but Colorado couldn’t notch the equalizer despite pulling Anderson from the net in favour of an extra attacker.

“It wasn’t good enough,”said Fleischmann.“It’s tough to play catch-up after 3-0. We tried. We had chances a little bit, but it was nothing close I would say.”

The Flames will now attempt to run their winning streak to four games in Edmonton against the Oilers on New Year’s Day, while the Avalanche return to Colorado for a game on Sunday against the Vancouver Canucks.

NOTES: The Flames have now won six straight games on New Year’s Eve dating back to Dec. 31, 2003 when they lost 2-1 to the Avalanche.…Since 1987, the Flames have compiled a 12-5-3 record at home ingames played on New Year’s Eve.…Calgary forward Curtis Glencross has gone 14 games without a goal since scoring the 10,000th goal in Flames franchise history on Nov. 26 during a 3-2 shootout win over the Flyers in Philadelphia. Since then, Glencross has recorded just one assist and has been a healthy scratch on two occasions.