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Smyth, Hejduk score 300th goals as Avalanche cool off Flames

The Hockey News

The Hockey News

DENVER - Ryan Smyth and Milan Hejduk teamed up to make a little history.

Within minutes of each other, the Colorado Avalanche forwards scored their 300th career goals in a 6-2 win over the Calgary Flames on Sunday night. They became just the second set of players in NHL history to reach the milestone in the same game.

"It definitely was a special night," Hejduk said. "It's something I'll remember for the rest of my life."

Ditto for Smyth, only too happy to split the spotlight with his teammate.

"It's an honour to share it with Milan," Smyth said. "It's obviously special to not only play in this game, but to score that many goals is a great feeling."

Danny Gare and Ivan Boldirev of the Detroit Red Wings are the only other duo to reach the milestone in the same game, each scoring No. 300 on Feb. 26, 1983, against the New York Islanders.

"Anytime guys score 300 goals in this league, hats off to them," said Flames forward Michael Cammalleri, whose second-period goal gave him 20 for the season. "I just wish it wasn't against us."

Hejduk also became only the fourth player in franchise history to reach 300 goals, joining Joe Sakic (625), Michel Goulet (456) and Peter Stastny (380). Hejduk has spent his entire career with Colorado.

He thought 300 was a big number - then he started thinking about how many Sakic has scored.

"If you look at Joe's numbers, it's nothing," Hejduk said, grinning.

Smyth has scored 30 of his goals with Colorado, five with the New York Islanders and 265 while a member of the Edmonton Oilers.

Coincidentally, Smyth's first career goal also came against Calgary, back on Nov. 24, 1995.

"I have to give it all to my teammates over the years who I've played with and obviously this team here," Smyth said.

The boisterous crowd gave each player a rousing ovation for their feat.

After the game, they shook hands with teammates and signed sticks to mark the occasion.

"It's great for me to be part of this big milestone for them," said Peter Budaj, who snapped a personal four-game skid, stopping 39 shots. "It's unbelievable."

Marek Svatos, Chris Stewart, Ruslan Salei and Cody McLeod also scored to help the Avalanche beat Northwest-leading Calgary for the first time in five games this season.

Rene Bourque also scored for the fatigued Flames, coming off a Saturday night home loss to Phoenix. It's the first time the team has dropped two straight in regulation since early November.

"We didn't provide much of a game," Cammalleri said. "It's disappointing to lose two in a row."

The Avalanche bottled up Jarome Iginla, limiting the lethal scorer to just an assist, hid 33rd of the season.

Iginla has 61 points in 70 career games against Colorado, the most of any NHL player versus the Avalanche since they moved from Quebec.

"They were strong all night, they were ready to go right from the drop of the puck," said Iginla, who has now gone eight games without a goal. "We made it 2-1 (in the second) and we had a power play."

That's when Smyth went to work, breaking free to score a short-handed goal.

That flummoxed the Flames.

"Obviously, a (short-handed goal) is not my specialty," Smyth said. "But it worked out."

Hejduk followed with a power-play goal 4:44 later to help the Avalanche snap a three-game slide.

"Pretty cool to get it on the same night," Avalanche coach Tony Granato said of the milestones. "It's a pretty incredible feat, both those guys should be very excited and proud to have done that together."

The Flames gave regular goalie Miikka Kiprusoff the night off, starting Curtis McElhinney in his place. The backup was kept busy, stopping 32 shots.

Colorado struggled to sneak anything past McElhinney in the opening 15 minutes of the first period, but finally solved him, scoring twice in a span of 1:55.

Svatos scored a power-play goal as he banked in a shot off McElhinney's left skate. Stewart soon followed with his fifth goal of the season, taking advantage of a Calgary miscue at centre ice. Stewart grabbed the puck and barreled in on a breakaway, fending off a charging Adam Pardy before beating McElhinney with a low liner.

The Avalanche had 20 shots in the period, tying a season high. The last time they had that many was Oct. 9 against Boston.

"Definitely, this is a huge win," Budaj said. "Calgary is one of the hottest teams."

Notes: Colorado added F Ian Laperriere to injured reserve Sunday because of a balky back. ... F Chris Durno was recalled from the Lake Erie Monsters of the American Hockey League and made his NHL debut Sunday night. ... Avalanche F David Jones missed his third straight game because of a back injury. ... Flames RW Todd Bertuzzi was held out for a fifth game with a hip flexor injury. ... The Avalanche are 16-0-0 this season when leading after two periods.


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