Final

Series (Game 7 of 8)

Calgary leads 5-3

Game 1: Monday, October 10th
Flames3Final
Avalanche7
Game 2: Saturday, November 12th
Avalanche3Final
Flames5
Game 3: Monday, November 21st
Flames3Final
SO
Avalanche2
Game 4: Tuesday, January 24th
Flames4Final
Avalanche7
Game 5: Sunday, March 12th
Flames0Final
Avalanche3
Game 6: Monday, March 13th
Avalanche3Final
Flames4
Game 7: Friday, March 31st
Avalanche3Final
Flames6
Game 8: Thursday, April 13th
Avalanche0Final
Flames2

Avalanche 3

(40-26-8, 88 pts)

Flames 6

(41-24-8, 90 pts)

9:30 PM ET, March 31, 2006

Scotiabank Saddledome, Calgary, Alberta, Canada

1 2 3 T
COL 2 0 13
CGY 1 3 26

S. Donovan (Flames - RW): Goals: 1, Assists: 1

J. Sakic (Avalanche - C): Goals: 2, Assists: 0

J. Iginla (Flames - RW): Goals: 0, Assists: 2

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 Avalanche.

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

"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 assist.

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 8½ 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 Kiprusoff.

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 486.

Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press

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