Anderson makes 44 saves to lead Avs to shootout win

CALGARY, Alberta -- Craig Anderson is feeling comfortable as a starting goaltender in the NHL.

Just ask the Calgary Flames.

Anderson was spectacular Monday night, making 44 saves to lead the Colorado Avalanche to a 3-2 shootout victory.

Chris Stewart, who scored in regulation, had the shootout winner.

A third-round draft pick by Calgary in 1999 who chose not to sign with the Flames and re-enter the draft, Anderson has been sensational in his first season with Colorado.

"It's been a snowball effect. You get one good game and you get back in there and you just get in a groove," said Anderson, whose previous six seasons were split between Florida and Chicago as a backup.

"There's no thinking involved, you're not wondering when you're going to get your next start, you just go out there and play," he said. "Ask any goaltender that's a starting goaltender in the National Hockey League, it's just rhythm, it's knowing that you're the guy they're counting on."

After Colorado's Milan Hejduk and Calgary's Olli Jokinen each scored in the shootout, Stewart put the Avalanche ahead on a nifty deke, tucking the puck through the legs of Flames goalie Miikka Kiprusoff. The Avalanche got the win when Calgary's Jamie Lundmark lost control of the puck and failed to get a shot on goal.

It was Colorado's fourth straight 3-2 victory over Calgary in the season series and moved the Avalanche into a tie with the Flames atop the tightly contested Northwest Division.

"Forty-some shots on net and you keep the opposition to 20, it's disappointing to lose, I am not going to deny that," Flames coach Brent Sutter said. "There is no question who the better hockey team was tonight, No. 41 [Anderson] was the difference in the game."

Anderson claimed his fourth victory over the Flames this season.

Although he didn't need to make the stop on that final shootout attempt, Anderson was the story as Calgary poured on the pressure most of the game including outshooting Colorado 17-4 in the third period and 5-1 in overtime.

"They got some momentum with the power play, put a lot of pucks on net. I just found ways to be big in the net and make some saves," said Anderson, who has already surpassed career highs for games (39) and wins (22).

Paul Stastny also scored for Colorado, which has won seven of its last nine road games.

Rene Bourque and Dustin Boyd scored for Calgary, which dropped to 6-2-1 in its last nine.

"We show up every time we play these guys," Stewart said. "Every time we play them we have a little bad taste in our mouth. It's a four-point game and these are the points that are going to count later on, down the stretch."

Flames captain Jarome Iginla was involved in several of the close calls in the third period. In one short stretch, the Flames captain slid a puck under Anderson but wide of an open net, then set up Daymond Langkow's one-timer that Anderson deflected away, and later he was stopped on a breakaway as he bowled his way to the net but could not jam the puck past Anderson.

Iginla drew a hooking penalty on the breakaway and with the extra man Calgary threatened but Anderson added a couple more spectacular stops, including a blocker save on Mark Giordano.

"It came right to me and I thought I got a pretty good shot off but he got over pretty quick and got a piece of it," Giordano said. "Those are ones you'd like to put in and end it there but in saying that, that's how it goes. Sometimes you deserve the extra point and you don't get it and I thought that was the case tonight."

Calgary failed to convert on a 19-second 5-on-3 advantage it got in overtime when Stastny took a delay of game penalty.

Despite all the chances, the Flames finished 0-for-4 on the power play and are now 0-for-14 over the past five games.

Game notes
The Avalanche play again Saturday night, facing New Jersey to open a five-game homestand. ... Colorado captain Adam Foote (ankle) missed his second game. ... Calgary LW Fredrik Sjostrom was a healthy scratch for the second straight game and remains at 399 career NHL games. ... Iginla is three assists from tying Theo Fleury for second on the Flames' all-time list (466).