SUN Hockey Pool

Flames let 'em Av it

STEVE MACFARLANE -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 10:28 AM ET

DENVER -- A few fans quietly booed Alex Tanguay when the former Colorado Avalanche playmaker first touched the puck in his return to the Pepsi Center.

They saved their loudest jeers for their own team, though, as the Calgary Flames exploded in the second period to seal a 7-3 win over the Avs.

Heavy boos rained down on the Avs powerplay unit when Daymond Langkow scored the Flames' second shorthanded goal of the game in the middle of the second period.

Then, after Langkow added another tally a couple of minutes later, the fans let Jose Theodore know how they feel about the former No. 1 netminder.

And Theodore hadn't even let in a goal yet.

He was just coming onto the ice in relief of Peter Budaj -- the victim of his team's man-advantage breakdowns.

"I haven't heard very many boos here in six years," said Tanguay, who didn't hear any heckling directed his way but was surprised by their frustrated cat-calls.

"They're pretty loyal fans. I think it's the first time I heard boos.

"If I heard them before, I can't remember."

The fans had good reason last night.

Kristian Huselius scored on a shorthanded breakaway in the first period and Langkow added the second on a dash up the left wing when he rifled a slapshot off Budaj's mask and beat out a defender to the rebound before sending a bad-angle shot into the cage to increase their lead to 4-2 in the second.

"I was just trying to get good wood on it," said Langkow, laughing at his fortunate bounce.

"I was lucky, hit him dead square in the face and came right back on my stick."

Langkow, who finished with four points, was set up for his second goal with a last-second pass from Tanguay that landed right on the tape of his stick.

That made it 5-2 Flames.

Tanguay also made a seeing-eye dish to David Moss early in the middle frame to break a scoreless tie, giving Moss five goals in 10 NHL appearances.

"On mine, I think I hit the pole in the middle of the net," said Langkow, who didn't notice any jitters on Tanguay's part.

"He held onto it, held onto it and I had an open net. It was great.

"Any time you go up against your old team -- it's hard to explain -- it's kind of a weird feeling going into the game."

It was definitely a strange night for special teams.

A goal was scored on all five Colorado powerplays. Three for the home side and two the other way.

Marek Svatos and Paul Stastny tallied in the first period to escape with a 2-2 tie and Andrew Brunette added an ultimately meaningless marker with less than five minutes to play in the second.

"It was weird," said Langkow.

"Obviously we were having some trouble on the PK."

That made the Flames' shorthanded scores crucial.

"It was huge," Langkow continued.

"If we don't get those shorthanded goals, who knows what happens?"

Head coach Jim Playfair agreed they were key plays.

"It lifts your team spirits so much," said Playfair. "We've really stressed lately we want our penalty killers to be a lot more aggressive up ice, a lot more aggressive in the defensive zone. I think when you're doing things right, you're going to create opportunities."

Of course, the three powerplay goals against are cause for concern.

"We've still got lots of work to do," said Playfair.

While at even strength, Roman Hamrlik scored his fourth of the season in the opening frame and Amonte added a late goal, his eight, in the second.

Huselius capped off the season-high output in the third period on a one-timer set up by Marcus Nilson in his first game back from a knee injury.


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