After a fairly nondescript first period, the Flames took the lead on a power play goal by Dougie Hamilton at 17:23.
The Avalanche, on the other hand, couldn't convert on their own power plays until Mikko Rantanen tied the game at 14:32 of the second period.
The tie game wouldn't last long, as the Avs imploded one minute before the end of the second period by giving up first a goal to Micheal Ferland at 19:09, and then yet another to Mikael Backlund at 19:31. Considering the Avs were having difficulty generating much offense at that point, it seemed like that would be enough for the Flames for the evening.
Suspicions proved correct, and the Avs only made it interesting by a Nikita Zadorov goal late in the third period at 17:06.
It was nice to see the big man score after he had a goal taken away the other night and several last year. It only proved to serve as temporary hope, though, as the Avs couldn't convert on the man advantage with Jonathan Bernier pulled in the final minutes.
It was the third game in four nights for the Avalanche, which could probably explain some of the sloppy and disjointed play. It's no excuse, because the rest of the league pretty much had the same schedule due to the holidays - but still, the effects were nevertheless felt.
Tonight also serves as a reminder that it's still a long game this year for the Avs, and consistency is going to be a work in progress for this group.
Despite feeling that the Avs were never really in this one, they only gave up 28 shots to their own 26 shots on goal, and had 47.37% CF possession. This isn't the same ‘getting run over’ experience as in years past when the Avs didn't have it going into a game. This is a continuing trend of better possession games since the Avs returned from Sweden - and if it continues, should yield rewards down the road.
The eye popping recent production from the top line, which led to Nathan MacKinnon earning third star for the week in the NHL, is great to see when it's working - but the reliance on the trio has left at least two other lines a bit impotent. With the upcoming practice days, it might be a good time to rethink some lines and give more of a tangible role to rookies who have performed well, such as Alexander Kerfoot and JT Compher.
The surging Winnipeg Jets head into Pepsi Center for game two of the five game home stand on Wdnesday, November 29th at 7:30pm MT.