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Game Recap: Avalanche Defeat Flames 4-3 in Overtime

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A nightmare power play nearly dooms the Avs early, but clutch performances lifted Colorado in big moments to seal a big road win.

Yup, our hearts are racing too.
Yup, our hearts are racing too.
Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports

Semyon Varlamov stopped 30-of-33 shots and an injury-riddled Colorado Avalanche overcame a major 2nd Period blunder to defeat the Calgary Flames 4-3 in a shootout.

The first goal of the game came off the skate of Matt Stajan, when Jyrki Jokipakka rifled a wrist shot out in front of the net. Stajan adjusted his skate to the precisely angle required to redirect the puck into the net and Avs goalie Semyon Varlamov was helpless to stop it. The game officials went to the replay booth to confirm the puck wasn't kicked in, but the goal was confirmed upon further inspection, giving Calgary a 1-0 lead.

But the Avalanche would tie it up before the end of the period when Nathan MacKinnon carried the puck into Calgary's zone with some speed and fired a shot off the pads of Joni Ortio. Mikkel Boedker caught the rebound down low, squared around to scan the play behind him, and made a brilliant cross-ice pass to Erik Johnson who buried his 11th goal of the season (Video).

In the 2nd Period, a scenario as strange as you'll ever see in hockey befell the Avs after a Deryk Engelland Delay of Game penalty. The infraction put Colorado on the power play against the worst penalty kill in hockey and most informed observers would have predicted an Avalanche advantage in the ensuing minutes. Unfortunately, that wasn't what happened. Instead, they gave up not one, but TWO, shorthanded goals in the span of 30 seconds. A Mark Giordano wrist shot scored the first (Video) and former Avalanche Freddie Hamilton would score the second -- his first goal in a Calgary uniform (Video). The sequence put the Flames up 3-1, a deficit at the time that seemed like a death knell.

Tyson Barrie would strike right back not three minutes later. After corralling the puck along the right-hand boards, he paused a moment and sent a fairly innocuous wrister toward the front of the net. Hockey karma then restored its balance as the puck ricocheted off Mike Giordano and into Calgary's net to make the score 3-2 (Video).

Halfway through the 3rd, Colorado would score again, this time off of Carl Soderberg's stick during a mad scramble in front of the net. The play started with a Jack Skille slap shot from the left circle. Chris Bigras pinched low to collect the rebound and dished it in front of the net to Shawn Matthias, who stabbed at it a few times before Soderberg saw his opportunity and swooped in to tie the game at three (Video).

The game would eventually go to 3-on-3 overtime, where each team produced a few shots but ultimately no scoring. After a quick scrape of the ice, the game would come down to a shootout, one the Avs would be attempting without Matt Duchene (injured in previous game), Gabriel Landeskog (serving his final game of suspension), and Nathan MacKinnon, who left the game in the 3rd Period with an unspecified injury. Fortunately, Mikkel Boedker escaped the rash of injuries because he would score the game winning goal for the Avs, propelling them even further ahead of the Minnesota Wild for the Western Conference's final playoff spot.

Colorado now heads to Edmonton to play the Oilers on Sunday.

AvsFlames

Standouts

  • Mikkel Boedker - Again, all that talk last week comparing his scoring stats to Tanguay? We're not talking about that anymore, are we? This guy is a fantastic fit on the team and will be a reason they make the playoffs, if they do. His skating ability is a threat every time he's on the ice. And his shootout goal was just filthy.
  • Erik Johnson - The big guy played big minutes (28:20) and is finally looking like he's got his momentum back after missing so much time with an injured knee. His goal tonight was the result of pure hustle off the bench to get into the play.
  • Chris Bigras - Boy did they miss Bigras on the bottom pairing. His hockey sense is no joke. The pinches he makes in the offensive zone led to multiple additional chances for the Avs tonight. He may never be a major point scorer, but his instincts will contribute to offense.

Schmucks

  • Nick Holden - Minus-8 CF 5v5 tonight brought up the rear among all Avalanche skaters. Not his best showing, but it wasn't a total disaster either.
  • Blake Comeau - Bad O-zone high-sticking penalty and a late back check directly led to one of the goals against tonight, but he also made a diving stop on a subsequent penalty kill that saved a goal. I like how he recovered after his initial start.
  • Injuries - Eric Gelinas left the game after his arm absorbed a check along the boards. He's out indefinitely with an elbow injury. Nathan MacKinnon bumped knees shortly after a defensive zone faceoff and did not return. Both of these are BAD BAD BAD news, but especially so with Duchene now missing time.