The Flames needed a bounce-back game after two close losses over the weekend, and they got it last night in the form of a 9-1 thrashing of the Colorado Avalanche on a night when everything went right for the visiting team and a comedy of errors ensued at the other end. Getting beat that badly by any team is never fun (Calgary had that 9-1 loss to the San Jose Sharks last season), but it's especially worse when it comes at the hands of a division rival, and the Flames don't find themselves on the winning side of those too often. It feels good. I guess what I'm trying to say is thank you, Colorado, for not being Vancouver.
The Flames found themselves up 1-0 just 18 seconds into this one when David Moss beat Peter Budaj for his thirteenth of the season and they kept them coming after that. Anton Babchuk's powerplay tally just before the contest was six minutes old extended the visitor's lead to two, and by the thirteen minute mark, that had been doubled on goals by Jarome Iginla and Curtis Glencross. Olli Jokinen put his team up by five with three minutes to go in the opening frame before taking a nasty knee-on-knee hit from Philippe Dupuis, who was subsequently ejected from the game after twenty minutes.
Colorado's first and only goal would come in the second period when Daniel Winnik scored with Mark Giordano off for delay of game. The Avs would actually start to push back a little in the middle frame, outshooting the Flames 9-7, but nothing would come of it.
The third saw the visitors continue to build on their lead with two quick goals from Alex Tanguay and Glencross before Iginla and Matt Stajan rounded out the scoring. Giordano, Cory Sarich, NIklas Hagman, and Tim Jackman (who left the game with a lower-body injury) were the only Flames to finish the game without at least a point.
This was not a dominant game for the Flames in terms of possession, but they out-chanced the Avs by a large margin, and made good on those chances...nine times. Of course they had more than a few bounces go their way, but that wasn't wholly undeserved, and I like to think that was partially thanks to a bit of correction from the Hockey Gods after the Flames probably should have had a couple more on Saturday (as well as the fact that the Avs were terrible).
The good guys are back home to take on the Dallas Stars tomorrow evening at the 'Dome in their final game before Sunday's Heritage Classic. After Dallas' surprising jump to the top of the Western Conference earlier this season, they now find themselves displaced by the Phoenix Coyotes as Pacific Division leaders, and only two points up on the eighth-place Flames. This should be a good one.