January 10, 2019 / 5:37 AM / 4 months ago

Avalanche can't douse hot Flames

EditorsNote: rewords third graf

Goalie David Rittich provided a sensational 32-save performance, five different Calgary players found the net, and Mark Giordano netted three assists as the host Flames defeated the Colorado Avalanche 5-3 on Wednesday night.

Johnny Gaudreau collected two assists to give him 15 points in a six-game point streak for the Flames, who are atop the Western Conference thanks to a three-game winning streak and 6-1-1 roll.

Despite the Avalanche being the better side in the first period, the Flames took a 2-0 lead thanks to goals by Mikael Backlund and Mark Jankowski.

Backlund opened the scoring at 5:34 with his 27th point in 28 games career against the Avalanche.

After Gaudreau set up James Neal at the doorstep — a shot that was denied — Backlund buried the rebound for his fourth goal in six games and 10th on the season. Then Jankowski doubled the lead at 10:29 by burying a shot from the slot.

However, the Avalanche erased the lead before the first intermission.

Nathan MacKinnon put the visitors on the board at 16:32 with his 26th goal of the season, blasting a one-timer to give him five goals and 11 points in an eight-game point spree.

Then Erik Johnson tied it at 2 with 18.4 seconds remaining in the first thanks to a perfect shot off the rush.

Elias Lindholm scored the go-ahead goal 13 minutes into the second period, a power-play tally to net his 21st of the season. Michael Frolik had Giordano’s shot bank off his body and into the net at 9:14 of the third period to extend Calgary’s lead to 4-2.

Colorado’s Mikko Rantanen scored with 37 seconds left in regulation to get his team within one, but Matthew Tkachuk’s empty-netter with 10 seconds remaining iced the game.

Semyon Varlamov stopped only 11 shots for the Avalanche, who have just one victory in nine games (1-6-2).

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