Outburst arrives at last

RANDY SPORTAK -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 12:30 PM ET

The offensive outburst, much awaited and long promised, came with a vengeance.

Against the team you'd expect to see lighting the lamp in that manner, instead.

Yet, giving proof it's a whole new game from what we'd seen in recent memory, the Flames vaulted forward with a four-goal first period but still needed some late-game heroics to barely hold for a 5-3 win over the Colorado Avalanche and win their sixth straight for the first time since February 1994.

Heading into last night's tilt, it was the Avalanche offence to be feared. After all, they were the ones popping goals at a rate never seen in franchise history.

Instead, it was the Flames setting off early fireworks, scoring four times in the first period -- three of them coming in a 125-second span -- only to see the Avs pull within one before Andrew Ference sealed the deal with a long point shot early in the final frame.

At 10-7-2, Calgary is now tied with Vancouver for top spot in the Northwest Division, though the Canucks have a pair of games in hand.

Calgary also is sporting a 7-1-1 home record.

As big as four goals in a period is to the Flames, it's especially significant considering they didn't score four goals in a game until the 17th outing of the season.

Yet, they did it with authority against the Western Conference's other red-hot squad, with the Avs arriving on a 6-0-1 march.

While the opening frame was thrilling for the sold-out Saddledome crowd of 19,289, had it not been for Miikka Kiprusoff, the Flames would have certainly trailed.

But he held strong enough for his teammates to open the scoring with a little more than seven minutes remaining in the opening frame.

It was Jarome Iginla doing the honours, slipping a rebound past David Aebischer.

From there, it appeared the rout was on.

Tony Amonte got off the schneid by scoring his first goal in 10 games -- and only second in 15 -- when he also pounced on a rebound. And only 44 seconds later, Aebischer's night ended when he pulled a Tommy Salo (mishandling a long, high dump-in) that gave Craig MacDonald his first goal as a Flame.

Rookie Peter Budaj took over between the pipes for Colorado but fared no better in his early moments.

Chuck Kobasew added a powerplay goal of his own in the final two minutes to give the hosts a surprising four-goal lead.

Being his seventh goal of the season, Kobasew set a personal NHL high.

But no lead is safe in today's NHL and the Avs showed why they're still a club to be reckoned with a second period as one-sided as the first.

Colorado reached the board early in the second period when Brett Clark's powerplay point shot went in off Flames defenceman Robyn Regehr.

Alex Tanguay then pulled the visitors within two with exactly 12 minutes left in the second period on a successful Alex Tanguay penalty shot.

Then he pulled the Avs within one, working a give-and-go with Joe Sakic to perfection.

A four-minute powerplay when Kobasew was handed a double-minor for high sticking late in the second period gave Colorado the perfect chance to draw even.

But the Flames shut the door, regrouped and received the desperately needed insurance tally from Ference early in the final frame.

Kiprusoff finished with 27 saves to record the victory.

Calgary's home stand continues tomorrow night against the Minnesota Wild.

- - -

CALGARY FLAMES: 5

COLORADO AVALANCHE: 3


Videos

Photos