Sauve so good

STEVE MACFARLANE -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 9:41 AM ET

DENVER -- Maybe shootouts aren't so bad, after all.

Surprise starter Philippe Sauve and Tony Amonte teamed up to give the Calgary Flames a 3-2 shootout win over the Colorado Avalanche last night at the Pepsi Centre.

In the shootout, Amonte scored the only goal, while Sauve stopped all three Avalanche snipers he faced to clinch the two points.

"It's fun, especially in my situation," said Sauve, a former member of the Avalanche.

"I don't get a chance to play very often. That's part of my role. But whenever I do get out there, I want to do some good things."

In fact, Sauve did some very good things, especially early in the overtime session when he stoned rookie Avalanche forward Marek Svatos.

Even Amonte, Calgary's other shootout hero, sent kudos Sauve's way.

"I was looking on the other side -- (Joe) Sakic, (Milan) Hejduk and (Alex) Tanguay," Amonte said.

"I thought we'd need more than one (shootout goal) to win it. But Phil came up big."

Sauve's clutch play didn't surprise one ex-teammate.

"He's a great goalie," Sakic said. "He played well for us when he had his opportunity. He's played well for them."

Sauve earned the start after coach Darryl Sutter decided he wasn't really happy with Miikka Kiprusoff's performance last Friday in a 5-2 loss to Chicago that snapped Calgary's eight-game winning streak.

"The other guy wasn't very sharp against Chicago and I changed my mind this morning," Sutter said. "I told Phil it was his start when he came to the rink."

Meanwhile, Amonte admitted he didn't have a set strategy when he skated in on Avs rookie netminder Peter Budaj.

"I was just going to go down and see what he'd give me," Amonte said.

"I just gave him a little head fake, it seemed to open up just a little bit and tried to slip it by him. Got lucky."

Jarome Iginla and Chuck Kobasew were the other shootout participants for Calgary, which now sports one win and one loss in the new tie-breaker format.

The Flames secured the victory despite giving up a two-goal lead.

Calgary blueliner Jordan Leopold opened the scoring 5:36 into the first period, banging home a rebound off a Robyn Regehr point shot. It was Leopold's first goal of the season.

Later in the period, Leopold registered an assist on the powerplay when Craig MacDonald tipped his wrister past Budaj to increase Calgary's lead to 2-0.

The Avs thought they cut the lead in half two minutes into the second period but Steve Konowalchuk's goal was waved off because he intentionally pushed the puck and the goaltender into the net.

The Avs struck before the period was over.

Pierre Turgeon set up twice behind the Flames net and tried to send the puck to rookie Svatos in the slot.

Turgeon's pass attempt hit a skate in front and slid under Sauve as he butterflied across the crease to attempt a save.

The Flames had a couple of chances but were dominated for the entire middle frame.

Their best chance to score was stymied by Budaj, who anticipated a cross-ice pass from Amonte to Daymond Langkow and took a shot to the body.

Avs defenceman Rob Blake, who was a force at both ends of the ice all night, forced overtime. His backhand shot over Sauve's shoulder tied the game at 2-2 midway through the third period.


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