Kiprusoff turns back 35 shots, Flames top Avs and move into 8th place tie in West

By Pat Graham, AP
Friday, April 2, 2010

Flames beat Avs, move into 8th place tie in West

DENVER — Miikka Kiprusoff stopped 35 shots for the Calgary Flames, who beat Colorado 2-1 on Friday night and moved into a points tie with the eighth-place Avalanche in the Western Conference playoff race.

Nigel Dawes and Rene Bourque scored for the Flames, who won their third straight.

Calgary has made up ground in a hurry. The Flames trailed Colorado by nine points heading into a game against the Avalanche on March 17. Now the teams are tied with 89 points. The Avalanche have five games left, compared to four for Calgary, and own the tiebreaker based on one more win than the Flames.

Colorado, which got a third-period goal from T.J. Galiardi, is 1-6-1 in its last eight games.

In their biggest game of the season, the Avalanche looked listless for much of the game. The packed crowd kept waiting for them to break out. The offense came to life when Galiardi punched a shot past Kiprusoff to cut the deficit to 2-1.

From there, Colorado threw a barrage of shots at Kiprusoff, who held his ground. Kiprusoff swatted away Ryan O’Reilly’s point-blank shot in front of the net with his glove.

That was merely a warmup act.

Later, Chris Stewart had the puck on his stick, only to have Kiprusoff suddenly reach out his left pad and stuff the shot.

Colorado wanted to pull Craig Anderson with a minute remaining, but couldn’t get the puck up ice. He finally skated off with 35 seconds left, but the Avalanche couldn’t score the tying goal.

Anderson, who stopped 25 shots, entered the game leading the NHL in shots faced and saves.

All that work may have taken a toll on Anderson. He has already set franchise records for starts (68) and logged more than 4,000 minutes, another team mark.

Dawes scored the first goal early in the second period, sending a wrist shot over the left shoulder of Anderson. He paid a price, though, crashing into the net and knocking it off its pegs. Dawes raised his hands soon after scoring his 14th goal.

The Flames couldn’t convert on a pair of power plays in a scoreless first period. Bourque had a wide-open net after a carom off the boards, only to have the puck hop over his stick.

Colorado had a few chances, too. With Kiprusoff out of the net, Cody McLeod reached his stick out for a loose puck, but was shoved into the net before he could knock it in.

NOTES: Flames F Eric Nystrom played in his 200th NHL game. … Avalanche F Paul Stastny added his 57th assist on Galiardi’s goal. … The return of Stephane Yelle (leg) and Brandon Yip (shoulder) couldn’t spark the Avalanche. Yip has missed 14 games.

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