SUN Hockey Pool

Flames go down ... with a fight

RANDY SPORTAK -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 9:40 AM ET

DENVER -- Joe Sakic ended his slump at the wrong time for the Calgary Flames.

The Colorado Avalanche captain snapped his 10-game goal-scoring drought in superstar fashion, tallying twice and adding an assist en route to a 7-4 win over the Flames last night.

The game ended with a last-minute melee that involved both starting netminders. Calgary's Philippe Sauve skated the length of the ice and dropped the gloves with Avs goalie David Aebischer.

Flames head coach Darryl Sutter wasn't impressed.

"I wish (Sauve's) game plan wasn't to be a fighter," Sutter said.

"I wish it was to stop pucks."

Sauve had trouble in that department, especially when facing Sakic, whose two goals gives him 561, good for 18th place on the all-time NHL goal scoring list, ahead of Guy Lafleur.

Sakic also tied with Dale Hawerchuk for 17th in assists at 891.

"I had about 10 games to tie Guy Lafleur, so it was a long-time coming," Sakic said.

"It's a great honour. He was my roommate for a bit in Quebec, so it's a privilege to be mentioned with him."

For 26 minutes, the Flames -- who arrived at their hotel at 2:30 a.m. after playing Monday night in Edmonton -- kept pace with Colorado thanks to a pair of game-tying goals from winger Chuck Kobasew.

However, Sakic's second powerplay marker of the clash before the game's midway point put his team ahead to stay.

Sutter said the late arrival played a part in the loss but wasn't the only cause.

"I thought our first period was all right and then we didn't get the goaltending we needed at critical times," Sutter said.

"One of those games. Hopefully, we got it out of our system."

Blueliner Rhett Warrener also wouldn't blame fatigue.

"It was just being all-around sloppy," he said.

"Our commitment to playing the system just wasn't there."

Sauve likely will receive a one-game suspension for leaving his crease to fight his Colorado counterpart.

"I saw (Aebischer) throw a punch and, in my book, that makes it six-on-five," said Sauve, who received an instigator penalty as well as a major for fighting.

"My instinct was to go down there. It probably wasn't the best decision but it's done with."

The loss snapped the Flames' four-game winning streak and dropped its record to 29-15-5.

They remain in first place in the Northwest Division standings, two points ahead of Vancouver with a game in hand.

Colorado (28-19-3) pulled within four points of top spot and snapped a two-game slide.

Kobasew's third-period goal completed his first career hat-trick.


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