AP NEWS

Backlund, Gaudreau score 2 goals each as Flames top Avs, 6-3

December 28, 2016
Calgary Flames center Sam Bennett, right, takes a shot as Colorado Avalanche left wing Andreas Martinsen, of Norway, defends in the second period of an NHL hockey game, Tuesday, Dec. 27, 2016, in Denver. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)
Calgary Flames center Sam Bennett, right, takes a shot as Colorado Avalanche left wing Andreas Martinsen, of Norway, defends in the second period of an NHL hockey game, Tuesday, Dec. 27, 2016, in Denver. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

DENVER (AP) — The Calgary Flames had trouble scoring on Colorado goalie Calvin Pickard, so they started using his teammates to beat him.

Once they started rolling, the Flames cruised to an easy win.

Mikael Backlund scored two of Calgary’s four goals in the second period and also had an assist, and the Flames beat the Avalanche 6-3 on Tuesday night.

All of Calgary’s second-period goals deflected off Colorado players.

“We had some luck on our side, but if you see that second period we had a lot of good chances that something should have went in,” said Kris Versteeg, who had a goal and an assist. “You’re going to need those nights.”

Johnny Gaudreau also had two goals and an assist for the Flames.

Brian Elliott had 25 saves for the Flames, who have won nine of 12.

The Flames killed off five penalties, including 1 minute, 34 seconds of a 5-on-3 late in the second period. The news wasn’t all good, though. Backlund hurt his right knee blocking Matt Duchene’s shot during the two-man advantage and didn’t play in the third period.

“He blocked a shot on the knee so we just hope it’s a bruise and he can carry forward,” Calgary coach Glen Gulutzan said. “That’s the residual of taking too many penalties.”

Gabriel Landeskog had two goals and Jarome Iginla scored for Colorado, which has now lost nine straight at home for the first time since moving to Denver. The Avalanche are 0-8-1 at Pepsi Center since beating the Los Angeles Kings 4-1 on Nov. 15.

“We’re standing here and it’s Dec. 27th. We know what we have to do to win hockey games,” Landeskog said. “We showed it in Chicago. Tonight we got away from certain things and it’s unacceptable.”

Calgary trailed 1-0 after the first period but used the Avalanche to take a 4-2 lead into the third. Backlund scored on shots that went off Colorado defenders, Gaudreau banked a shot off the glass behind the net and off Pickard to make it 3-1 and Sam Bennett had a tip that deflected off Carl Soderberg’s skate.

“Good things happen when you get pucks to the net and we found a way to get a couple of greasy goals,” Gaudreau said.

Gaudreau and Versteeg scored goals in the third period sandwiched around Landeskog’s second of the night.

Colorado’s frustration boiled over after Gaudreau’s second goal. Blake Comeau drew an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty and a game misconduct and was tossed from the game.

“It seems when it’s not going well you don’t get them (bounces) and when you’re going well and everyone’s feeling good you tend to get more of them for sure,” Iginla said.

HOLIDAY TRAVEL

With the NHL on break for Christmas, teams didn’t travel for Tuesday’s games until that morning. The Flames were no different. They flew out of Calgary at 7:45 a.m. local time and landed in Denver around 10 a.m. They went straight to Pepsi Center for their morning skate.

“It’s a long day, getting up at 6, getting on the plane, flying all the way out here and taking a long bus trip to the rink here,” Gaudreau said. “I think the guys did a great job tonight.”

NOTES: Pickard finished with 25 saves. ... Iginla’s goal was career point 1,282 and moved him past Alex Delvecchio for 34th on the NHL scoring list. ... Avalanche G Semyon Varlamov missed his second straight game due to a groin injury. ... Flames RW Troy Brouwer was out of the lineup with a hand injury. He will be re-evaluated when the team returns to Calgary.

UP NEXT

Flames: Host Anaheim on Thursday night.

Avalanche: Play at Dallas on Thursday night.