SUN Hockey Pool

Snow-job in Rockies

STEVE MACFARLANE -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 9:45 AM ET

Miikka Kiprusoff could only shake his head and stare in disbelief.

The Flames goaltender was frozen late in the second period when a third Avalanche goal deflected off a Calgary Flames player and into his net to give the Colorado Avalanche an unlikely tie after his team dominated the first half of the game for a cushy four-goal lead.

This time, it was his own stick, and the Avs capped the comeback by beating him twice in the shootout for a 5-4 decision at the Pepsi Center.

"I think there was a reason why those bounces were happening," said Kiprusoff, who showed uncharacteristic frustration on the ice at times. "We didn't play that strong that period, and if you don't play top of your game, those bounces will happen."

After back-to-back road wins over the Dallas Stars and Nashville Predators this week, the Flames were well on their way to a 3-1 record on the trip and a 3-2-1 showing overall.

A fast start by the visitors put them in the driver's seat, eager to cap their four-game road trip off with a third win.

They got a pair of goals from Jarome Iginla -- giving the Flames a modern-day NHL record with two-goal scorers in six straight games to start a season (the Ottawa Senators did the same in 1918 and again in 1920) -- a dynamite opening score from defenceman Dion Phaneuf and Marcus Nilson's first of the year.

But then Marek Svatos knocked in a blast by Ryan Smyth that was originally credited to the former Oilers star after bouncing off a body in front, before Smyth did get a lucky break on his the second Avs goal to cut the lead in half. Smyth's rebound hit an unaware Anders Eriksson and trickled past a diving Kiprusoff, who scooped the puck out of the net and fired it down the ice after the whistle.

A second own-goal -- this one off Adrian Aucoin on a pass to the crease by Andrew Brunette -- just compounded the collapse before Kurt Sauer's point shot ultimately sent the game to extra time after a scoreless third. The fourth appeared to tick a defender's stick and into the top corner of Kiprusoff's net to draw the hosts even.

"They got a couple of good breaks off skates and stuff, but you make your breaks," said Flames veteran Craig Conroy. "The way we played the third, if we'd have done that in the second, it would have been over.

"It's like we weren't working hard in the second, thought it was just over and it was gonna be easy. It's never easy. It's never over. This was a huge lesson. To have it happen in Nashville and now again. We've got to kind of stop this."

The Flames gave up a two-goal lead in the Music City but came out on top with a heroic third period in a win.

But a four-goal lead?

"You'd think that we'd learned from that (Nashville) experience," said Flames head coach Mike Keenan, who was asked if they got too comfortable with the wide margin over an explosive Avalanche team.

"There is no explanation for it without that explanation. They quit playing."

The Flames return to Calgary today and start a seven-game home stand at the Saddledome tomorrow (7 p.m., pay-per-view, FAN 960) vs. the Los Angeles Kings.


Videos

Photos