Avs Burnt by Flames

Who would have guessed that the sixth and final game between
the Calgary Flames and the Colorado Avalanche would be one of the most
important games of the year?

The plot was simple: Win the game, and be ahead of Calgary
by four points and come one step closer to a playoff berth. Lose the game, and be
in a tie for points and share the eighth and final spot.

Not only was the game crucial for playoff points, but it had
an aura of a playoff game. The Pepsi Center crowd was excited and proud to
cheer for their Avalanche team. Cheering when a hit was made, or booing when
the referee would not make a call.

While the Pepsi Center was more occupied then it has been
most of the season, all Avalanche fans went home with their heads down, as the
Avs dropped their fourth in a row, by a score of 2-1.

Although the Avs were unable to secure a victory, they did
play better than they have been during their current slump.

Much like their previous game against the Ducks, the Avs
came out with lots of energy, and were controlling the puck for most of the
first period. They did what they had to do, which was kill penalties and
generate some offense. A big key to their first period success was the fact
that they were creating turnovers in the Flames zone, which led to a few
scoring chances. Yet, the Avs were still unable to do something that has been
hurting them: score the first goal.

Going into the first intermission in a zero-zero tie was certainly
more appealing than being down by a goal or two. With the strong first period,
it seemed as if the Avs were going to come out in the second and dominate.

This belief was nullified when Nigel Dawes put one over the
glove of Avs goalie Craig Anderson two minutes into the second period. The goal
came off a turnover, in amidst confusion on the bench, as Avs players were
jumping on and off the ice.

The rest of the second period had a feeling of back and
forth, but the Flames had the advantage, as more time was spent in the Avs

Being down only one goal during the second intermission was
not the end of the world, as the Avs have had numerous comebacks from down a
goal or two. However, that idea changed when Rene Bourque scored two minutes
into the third period, giving the Flames the 2-0 advantage. The Pepsi Center
then went silent, as Avs fan had feared for the worst.

Again, one would think that this was the point in the game
when the Avs gave up and let the Flames have the victory. That didn’t happen,
as the second Flames goal gave the Avs a spark and saw a surge from this
youthful squad.

“I would say that second goal definitely woke us up,” stated
Chris Stewart. “We were hanging around for the first and second, but once we
were down 2-0, it became a desperate time. Desperate times called for desperate

Five minutes after Bourque scored, T.J. Galiardi was able to
sneak one past Flames goalie Mikka Kiprusoff. Fans all across the arena stood
and cheered as life came back to the Pepsi Center.

From that point on it was all Avs, and the only thing that
stood in their way from tying the game was Kiprusoff. The Avs sent shot after
shot towards him, but the net minder kept his cool and turned aside each shot. Kiprusoff
even swatted away a point-blank shot from Ryan O’Reilly, as Avs fans were sure
that was the game tying goal.

“The whole third period we were playing Avalanche hockey,”
said Galiardi. “The way we were the whole start of the season, that is why we
had success. Obviously we could have tied it up a few times if it wasn’t for

The Avs did end up pulling Anderson with thirty seconds
left, but were incapable of figuring out Kiprusoff.

“We have to keep the negative out of the room,” said Avs
captain Adam Foote. “Just stay positive and keep focusing on what we did to be successful
all year. What got us where we are.”





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