Anderson, Avalanche stifle Flames
It's not the start that counts, it's the finish. Just ask the Calgary Flames.
Jarome Iginla and Olli Jokinen staked Calgary to a 2-0 lead in the opening 70 seconds, but the Flames surrendered three unanswered goals in a 3-2 loss to the visiting Colorado Avalanche at the Pengrowth Saddledome on Wednesday night.
"We weren't as sharp as we should have been after that first minute," Iginla said. "We realize that."
Wojtek Wolski scored the winner with 14:29 remaining, his third goal in two games and eighth overall.
Tied at 2-2, Wolski took a return pass from Paul Stastny, skated between Nigel Dawes and a stumbling Daymond Langkow into the slot and faked a shot to freeze Miikka Kiprusoff before flicking the puck over the netminder's blocker for the go-ahead goal and Colorado's first lead of the contest.
"I just tried to take it to the middle of the ice and [Milan] Hejduk and Stastny were going to the net and that created a lot of space for me," Wolski said.
David Koci and David Jones had the other goals as the Avalanche (10-1-2) skated to a fourth straight win and set a franchise record with 10 wins for October.
"We have a good mix here and the passion of the young guys is good for us because it brings energy to our game," Koci said.
"There is a good feeling going on," Avalanche rookie head coach Joe Sacco stated. "The guys are pulling for each other and they're working hard.
"The guys really believe they can win right now. [It] doesn't matter if the situation is we're down 1-0 or 2-0, we have that feeling that we can come back at any time."
Kiprusoff managed just 11 saves for the Flames (7-3-1), who had a three-game winning snapped.
"They played a good road game," Iginla said. "They didn't do a lot of flashy things.
"They didn't get a ton of shots. But they were opportunistic and, on a back-to-back night, they did what they had to do."
Craig Anderson continued to supply splendid goaltending for Colorado, turning aside 30 of 32 shots.
"I knew I had the confidence in our team to come back and get ourselves back into the hockey game," he said.
'A matter of resetting and refocusing'
Anderson, one of the surprise stories this season, has faced 30-plus shots seven times in the last eight starts.
He had a shaky start Wednesday, as Iginla fooled him with a long wrist shot 55 seconds from the opening faceoff.
It was Iginla's fourth goal of the season and was followed 15 seconds later by Jokinen's second on a sharp-angled shot.
The 70-second outburst set a franchise record for the fastest two goals on home ice — still slower than the overall team record of 32 seconds set at Hartford in 1987.
"For me, it was just a matter of resetting and refocusing," Anderson said. "My job was just to make sure it didn't get to three."
It remained 2-0 until Koci replied on a slapshot from the slot 7:53 into the first period, and Jones shovelled in a loose puck during a scramble at the 16:38 mark.
"There is no quit in the room," Sacco said.
"We let them get back into it with a couple mental lapses that certainly shouldn't happen," Flames forward David Moss noted. "Any time you let a game go that long tied, anything can happen."
Colorado finished last in the Western Conference last season with 69 points, but leads the NHL with 22 points this season.
With files from The Canadian Press