Hejduk nets game-winner as Avs beat Flames

November 18, 2009

Ryan Wilson's first NHL points fittingly came against the team that traded him away.

The Colorado rookie scored his first career goal and added an assist, Milan Hejduk got the game-winner and the Avalanche beat the CalgaryFlames 3-2 on Tuesday night.

Originally signed as a free agent by Calgary on July 1, 2008, Wilson was dealt to Colorado last March along with forward Lawrence Nycholat and a draft pick for defenseman Jordan Leopold.

"I didn't really play with them but it's always nice to score on your old team or old organization," Wilson said. "I'm just happy to get the win and to score my first goal in a winning game. Certainly I'll remember this one but I have to keep playing this way and hopefully this little streak I'm on continues."

Cody McLeod also scored and Paul Stastny had two assists to help the Avalanche (13-5-3) move three points ahead of the Flames (12-5-2) for the top spot in the Northwest Division.

Jarome Iginla had his 12th goal of the season - and eighth in his past seven games - and Rene Bourque also scored for the Flames, who had earned points in each of their previous six games.

Avalanche goalie Craig Anderson made 34 saves and the defense blocked 24 more shots to keep Calgary off balance.

"Their 'D' seemed to get in front of every shot," Bourque said. "The last time we played them, same thing. They did a good job of taking our space away and they got big in front of you."

Calgary goalie Miikka Kiprusoff made 21 saves as he lost in regulation for the first time in November.

Aided by an early power play, the Flames had the first six shots of the game but couldn't get one past Anderson.

The Avalanche then bounced back to send seven straight shots at Kiprusoff, scoring on one. After Kiprusoff made two straight pad saves on shots by Wojtek Wolski, Wilson crept in off the point and picked up a loose puck in the slot before backhanding a shot into the Calgary net 8 minutes into the game.

"The puck was in there for a while and I think everyone just got tied up and the puck squirted loose," Wilson said. "The goalie was down so I moved to the side and put it in there."

At 11:39 of the second period, Curtis Glencross spotted Iginla wide open in the high slot and sent him a perfect pass that the Calgary captain one-timed into the top corner past Anderson.

About 5 1/2 minutes later, with the Avalanche on the power play, Bourque snapped a shot into the top corner over Anderson's outstretched glove to put Calgary up 2-1.

Prior to the play, Avalanche defenseman Kyle Quincy broke his stick when he took a slap shot from the point. Dustin Boyd alertly picked up the puck and sent it to Jay Bouwmeester, who feathered a great cross-ice pass to Bourque on the left wing in the Colorado zone.

McLeod converted a feed from Stastny past Kiprusoff to tie the game at 2-2 with 2 minutes left in the second period. Wilson had an assist on the play to double his total to four points on the season.

"That second goal was a terrible goal to give up," said Calgary head coach Brent Sutter. "You get up 2-1 and you've got to really clamp down and do it the right way."

Just 66 seconds later, Hejduk attempted to hit Darcy Tucker with a cross-crease pass while the Avs were on a power play. The puck deflected off Bouwmeester's skate instead and behind Kiprusoff to give Hejduk his eighth goal of the season.

The Flames pushed hard to tie the game in the third, but Anderson preserved the victory when he made a nice pad save on a point-blank shot by Olli Jokinen with 3 minutes left.

"I'm there for my teammates," Anderson said. "There's going to be breakdowns, you've got to make the save for that and keep the score 3-2."


Glencross returned to Calgary's lineup after missing three games due to a suspension for a hit on Chris Drury of the New York Rangers during a 3-1 win for the Flames at home on Nov. 7. ... It was only the fifth time in 19 games this season the Flames failed to score the first goal of the game. ... Colorado played without injured defensemen John-Michael Liles (shoulder) and Ruslan Salei (back). Forward T.J. Galiardi, who suffered an ankle injury the last time the two team's played back on Oct. 28 in Calgary, also missed the game.