Bertuzzi powers Flames

Todd Bertuzzi netted two goals in the Flames' first win of the season. (Sun Media/Jack Cusano)

Todd Bertuzzi netted two goals in the Flames' first win of the season. (Sun Media/Jack Cusano)

RANDY SPORTAK, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 9:09 AM ET

The powerplay questions were answered in triplicate.

Just often enough to earn the Calgary Flames their first victory of the season.

Thanks to a trio of powerplay goals in last night's 5-4 victory over the Colorado Avalanche, the Flames are in the win column.

"A step in the right direction," said captain Jarome Iginla. "Obviously we got three goals, but besides that, we started to feel a bit more comfortable and have an idea of what we're trying to accomplish."

Iginla's clutch man-advantage marker in the middle of the third period snapped a 3-3 draw.

He also assisted Todd Bertuzzi's second tally of the night, the game winner, to complete the Gordie Howe hat-trick.

"I have no problem with that," smiled Iginla, who duked it out with Cody McCormick at the end of the first period. "I'm not trying to go in and get in fight. I got cold-cocked pretty good, fell on my face and things just happened. It's hockey."

Certainly, the kind of hockey Flames fans are accustomed to seeing, and the 19,289 who filled the Saddledome enjoyed.

His teammates, too.

"He stepped up, fought their tough guy, did awesome against him, got a goal and an assist. He kinda turned the game around," said Bertuzzi.

"That's what leadership's all about and why we're moving in the right direction."

The first key to righting the Flames ship, though, was scoring with the powerplay after being blanked in the two losses to start the season.

Both Dustin Boyd and Bertuzzi netted powerplay goals before the game was five minutes old.

Having gone 0-for-13 with the man-advantage through the first couple of games, the heat was on the Flames to start making the most of their chances.

"Rightfully so," Bertuzzi said. "We're out there for a minute, minute-and-a-half, and we've got to be accountable and put the puck in the net. You look at all the best teams in the NHL right now, and they're getting it done on the powerplay.

"We made some adjustments and it worked out."

The most noticeable was placing forward Michael Cammalleri on the point with Dion Phaneuf.

Cammalleri assisted two of the three PP tallies.

However, the victory didn't come without its tense moments.

Colorado erased a two-goal deficit thanks to goals by Cody McLeod, John-Michael Liles and Ryan Smyth.

Plus, Ben Guite's lucky tally only 18 seconds after Bertuzzi's second goal -- it took a wacky bounce off the ice, went over the shoulder of goalie Miikka Kiprusoff, off the post and in -- set up a frantic finish.

However, Kiprusoff finished off a strong third period, save for Guite's marker, in fine style.

"We stayed with our approach," Keenan said. "We've done a lot of work on our defensive system."

And started to find the offence.

Craig Conroy also scored for the Flames (1-1-1), who host Edmonton Friday in a back-to-back Battle of Alberta.


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