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Flames battle out Avalanche 4-3

The Flames beat out the Avs in a remarkable game overall but the Avs just came out on the wrong end

Calgary Flames v Colorado Avalanche Photo by Michael Martin/NHLI via Getty Images

The two best teams in the Western Conference went toe-to-toe in a thrilling game from the get-go. For the Calgary Flames, they would come out victorious in the end 4-3 in overtime over the Colorado Avalanche on Saturday night.

The two went back and forth, trading goal for goal and created chance after chance. It was what we had all expected to see between these two. From a neutral standpoint, it was one to watch.

1st Period

The action got started quickly, as Gabriel Landeskog collected the loose puck and put it past Dan Valdar for the early 1-0 lead just 42 seconds in.

Just a few minutes later though, the Avs paid the price. Darcy Kuemper threw the puck over the glass and Elias Lindholm tied it up on a set play.

In the middle portion of the period, the Avs quieted down in a big way. They went a span of over seven minutes without even getting a shot on Valdar. That would change though as former Avalanche defender Nikita Zadorov sat for two in the box.

It would be Andre Burakovsky who put up a beautiful shot over the shoulder of Valdar for his third goal in the last four games to take the lead back.

But down on the other end of the ice, Lindholm came right back and beat Kuemper to his right to once again tie it at two heading into the intermission, outshooting the Avs 14-9.

2nd Period

Just 1:27 into the period, Eric Gudbranson got the Flames going once again. He unleashed a bullet from the corner of the point to take the lead 3-2.

This was all Jared Bednar needed to see, as he pulled Kuemper from the game despite only being down by one. Pavel Francouz would come in in relief and look sturdy as his team got chances down at the end and ramped up the action. This included a heavyweight fight between Kurtis MacDermid and Milan Lucic.

Afterwards, Avs fans would have a lot to cheer about. Samuel Girard gave up the puck at the top of the point and allowed an odd man rush for the Flames. Amazingly, Cale Makar scurried all the way back and in a diving effort kept the Flames from even getting a shot on goal.

Makar collected the puck after this sliding stop and hurried up in a three-on-two with Nazem Kadri and Nathan MacKinnon who leashed one past Valdar to explode the top off of the can to tie it at three.

Things got roughed up from here, as the physicality ramped up with hits being thrown and referees letting the play go on for the rest of the period. We were tied at three heading into an important and looking-to-be incredible third period.

3rd Period

Things settled down at least with the puck not entering the net. The Avs threw a lot to the Flames netminder, with Valdar having a puck sneak behind him early on that couldn’t be turned in.

Tyson Jost did take a deflected shot up high and went back to the locker room and did not return to the game. Makar got into it with Matthew Tkachuk which earned them matching minors.

During this 4-on-4, MacKinnon and Devon Toews had a phenomenal chance on a 2-on-1 that Toews just barely sent wide. Valeri Nichushkin created a turnover in the offensive zone that Kadri could not put past Valdar point blank in the slot.

Neither team could beat out the other, and a combined 71 shots between the two in regulation forced overtime for the two best teams in the West.

Overtime

After initially winning the opening face-off, Mikko Rantanen lost the puck in the offensive zone and sent Johnny Gaudreau on the breakaway, beating Francouz glove-side to win it in OT 4-3 just 37 seconds in.

Takeaways

The Wild Wild West rolls on and it was exemplified brilliantly in this game tonight. Both teams deservedly earned a point en route to their hopeful division win in April. While the Avs couldn’t come out of it with a win, they certainly played a pretty good game overall despite the lack of defense that got Kuemper pulled in the second. It’s the first time they’ve lost two games in a row since November 6th, 2021 with back-to-back losses to the Columbus Blue Jackets.

Unfortunately we have to talk about the play of Girard. He has struggled as of late but it stood out in a glaring way tonight. He has fallen off from what he has been capable of the last couple of seasons. With how he has done, Joe Sakic might have to be wondering what he can do with him. This could be improving his play on the ice or perhaps trying to move him for another asset. Girard has to turn it around regardless of whether or not he is going to be an Avalanche player by March 21st.

Upcoming

The Avs hit the road out to the East Coast for a three-game road trip. It’s one of the last longest road trips of the season with only one other road trip spanning three games in the beginning of April.

They begin in the New York area playing at the UBS Arena for the first time against the New York Islanders. Puck drop is at 5:30 p.m. MT.