Flames comeback falls short, Avs continue torrid start

The SportsXchange

DENVER -- Center Mike Cammalleri had the puck on his stick and no one in front of him. A perfect shot would have given him a hat trick and pulled the Calgary Flames even with Colorado on Friday night.

Instead of celebrating, Cammalleri watched as Avalanche goaltender Jean-Sebastien Giguere make a great save.

"He's a capable goaltender. He's going to make his saves," Cammalleri said. "I'm sure if you ask him on the goals he'd like to have them back and the ones he saved I'd like to have them back."

Had Cammalleri scored, the flight home to Calgary might have been more enjoyable. Instead, after a slow start, the Flames' rally came up short in a 4-2 loss to Colorado.

Giguere stopped 30 shots and centers Paul Stastny and John Mitchell scored in the second period as Colorado continued its hot start.

Centers Ryan O'Reilly and Matt Duchene also added goals for the Avalanche.

Colorado (13-2) matched the 1995 Quebec Nordiques for the best 15-game start in franchise history and bounced back after a tough loss to Nashville on Thursday.

"This was a big game for us. After going 12-1, you lose a game, it would be easy to go into bad habits and lose some," said Giguere, who tied a franchise goaltending record for wins to start the season with five. "We ended up getting a big win. We should be happy with this one."

Cammalleri had two goals and center Mikael Backlund had two assist for the Flames, who have lost seven of their last nine.

Goalie Karri Ramo made 23 saves for Calgary. The Flames have cooled considerably since a strong start, earning four points in their last nine games.

"This league, it's not a feel-good league," Calgary coach Bob Hartley said. "Moral victories do not exist, you need to points on the board. We got another great effort. I feel sorry for them we're wasting a good effort."

Giguere entered Friday having allowed three goals in four games this year and Cammalleri nearly matched that total in a span of 3:39 in the high-scoring second period.

His first goal 6:07 into the frame cut Colorado's lead to 2-1, and his second one, midway through the game, made it 3-2 after Mitchell gave the Avalanche a two-goal lead again.

"They fought real hard tonight, they were skating, they were taking pucks to the net," Mitchell said. "They were making a lot of good plays in the offensive zone."

Cammalleri had a chance for the hat trick late in the second but Giguere stopped him on an odd-man rush.

"Cammalleri was on the doorstep there a couple times at the end of the second," Stastny said. "Jiggy again made some big saves when it was 3-2."

The Flames kept the pressure on in the third and almost tied it on the power play in the first minute. Later, center Jiri Hudler had a point blank chance, but Giguere lunged forward to make the save.

Ramo came off for an extra skater with little more than a minute left the Flames but couldn't tie it.

Duchene scored into an empty net with seconds remaining to seal it.

"I think after the first period we might have taken them lightly," Duchene said. "We dominated the first period. The second and third I thought they were skating downhill."

O'Reilly got Colorado on the board with his sixth goal 5:31 into the game. Stastny made it 2-0 when he scored on a 5-on-3 just 69 seconds into the second.

Colorado had a chance for more when it got another two-man advantage a minute later but the Calgary killed off both penalties.

Colorado's fast start put the Flames on their heels and they couldn't recover.

"I thought it was the start again. I don't know what it is," Cammalleri said. "It seems like we're in kind of a little bit wait-and-see and then we spot them two or three and it makes it hard."

NOTES: The Flames acquired D Ladislav Smid and G Olivier Roy from the Edmonton Oilers on Friday. Calgary sent C Roman Horak and G Laurent Brossoit to Edmonton. Smid is expected to join the Flames on Saturday while Roy will report to the Anchorage Aces, Calgary's East Coast Hockey League affiliate. ... Avalanche D Ran Wilson was scratched with a back injury and D Nick Holden took his place in the lineup. Wilson is out for at least two weeks. "The doctor said let's wait two weeks and see where it goes from there," Avalanche coach Patrick Roy said ... Flames D Shane O'Brien played in his 500th career game. ... O'Reilly has now scored a goal in three straight games.
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