Calgary downs Colorado in the Northwest battle for first

CALGARY, Alberta (AP) -- Before the game, Matthew Lombardi had a
good feeling about the Calgary Flames' chances against the Colorado

Chris Simon, Craig MacDonald and Daymond Langkow scored
second-period goals to rally the Flames to a 6-3 victory Friday

"The boys were feeling really good this morning and really
excited to get into the game and it showed out there," said
Lombardi, who scored on a short-handed penalty shot and had an

Shean Donovan and Chuck Kobasew also scored, and Jarome Iginla
had two assists for Calgary.

Miikka Kiprusoff made 23 saves for his 37th win of the season as
the Flames (41-24-8) moved two points ahead of the Avalanche
(40-25-8) for first place in the Northwest Division.

Donovan said the players all know how important each and every
point is from here on in.

"We want to be in the playoffs and we've got to win these
games," Donovan said. "It's playoff hockey and it feels like
playoff hockey."

Joe Sakic scored twice, 25 seconds apart in the first period,
and Cody McCormick added a goal in the third for Colorado. Milan
Hejduk assisted on both of Sakic's goals.

Trailing 2-1 after one period, the Flames came out and dominated
in the second, outshooting the Avalanche 12-3.

"We came out in the second and played unbelievable," Donovan
said. "Guy like MacDonald and Ritchie and (Simon) and Chucky
(Kobasew) and all those guys were flying around and generating a
lot in the offensive zone. That's what we've got to do to get into
the playoffs."

Chris Simon tied the score on a disputed goal at 3:05. Byron
Ritchie centered the puck from behind the goal line to Simon, who
was driving toward the net while being tied up by Colorado forward
Jim Dowd. The puck bounced into the net past goalie Peter Budaj off
Simon's skate. After a short review, the goal stood.

MacDonald then put the Flames up when he swatted a pass from
Donovan past Budaj at 12:14. Iginla set up Langkow for an easy
tap-in goal to make it 4-2 with 1:15 to go.

Colorado defenseman Rob Blake admitted the Flames' forechecking
was, at times, too much for the Avalanche defense to handle.

"When you spend that much time in your zone running around,
(the puck's) bound to be in the back of your net sooner or later,"
he said.

Sakic agreed.

"They came out and outworked us," he said. "They were flying
in the second and we didn't match it."

After McCormick scored to pull Colorado within one nearly 6
minutes into the third, Donovan scored into the top corner over
Budaj's outstretched glove hand near the midpoint of the period.

Lombardi rounded out the scoring with his penalty shot goal with
8 minutes left.

Shortly after that, Vitaliy Kolesnik replaced Budaj, who
finished with 23 saves.

Kobasew opened the scoring for Calgary with a power-play goal
3:11 into the game. After taking a pass from Lombardi, Kobasew
circled behind the net and then out front before directing a shot
off the back of Budaj's leg and into the net.

Sakic tied the game during a Colorado power play at 14:26 when
he took a pass from Hejduk and quickly backhanded a shot past

On his next shift, Sakic slapped in a rebound past Kiprusoff to
put the Avalanche up 2-1.<
^Notes@: Sakic stretched his point streak to nine games. He has
eight goals and nine assists during that stretch. Sakic is now one
goal behind Mike Bossy (573) for 17th place on the NHL's all-time
goal-scoring list. ... Although Calgary forward Darren McCarty
dressed for the game, he didn't take a shift because of a groin
injury. ... The Flames were without defensemen Jordan Leopold
(groin) and Rhett Warrener (knee) and forwards Mike Leclerc
(wrist), Marcus Nilson (knee) and Jamie Lundmark (eye). ...
Colorado defenseman Karlis Skrastins stretched his consecutive
games played streak to 425 contests, which is the second longest
streak among defensemen in NHL history behind Tim Horton's mark of