With the Colorado Avalanche 0-for-Alberta coming into tonight's road contest against the Calgary Flames, there was little more to play for than pride and maybe being a thorn in Calgary's side in their push to return to the playoffs. Having seen their fate already sealed, they came out in the first period like a team with nothing to play for as Joe Colborne took a lazy penalty just 23 seconds into the game, putting Calgary on a power play, where they had already scored four times against Colorado in their previous two meetings this season.
They didn't take long to make it five times when Sean Monahan took a pass from Johnny Gaudreau and put it towards the net. Given the horrors of this Avalanche season, it wasn't all that surprising when Monahan's shot actually went in off Erik Johnson's skate, giving goaltender Calvin Pickard no chance at stopping it and putting Calgary ahead 1-0 just 90 seconds into the game.
The first period evened out a bit after that and both teams played an extremely low-event game as Calgary took their 1-0 lead into the first intermission with a 9-6 advantage in shots on goal. The second period began with Colorado getting back-to-back power play chances but failed to score on either of them without even generating anything close to a high-quality scoring chance.
The Flames responded to Colorado's offensive ineptitude by immediately returning to full strength and punishing the Avalanche as Gaudreau worked his magic behind Pickard, was denied initially and saw linemate Michael Ferland race in untouched and bury the rebound for the 2-0 lead. Another low-event finish to the period followed and the Flames took their two-goal lead and 20-12 shot advantage into the second intermission.
Another early Calgary penalty in the third period put Colorado on their third power play of the game and this time they paid the price. The usual perimeter-based passing occurred on the power play but an Erik Johnson one-timer missed the net and came straight to Sven Andrighetto, who put the rebound past a sliding Brian Elliott to make it 2-1 just 3:06 into the third period and make an honest game of it.
Unable to handle any modicum of success, the Avalanche took a careless penalty and inevitably watched the puck end up in the back of their net as Troy Brouwer broke in with only Fedor Tyutin laying down to make it easier and Brouwer beat Pickard high on the glove side to make it 3-1just 1:52 after the Avalanche scored.
As the game moved to its final moments, Andrighetto made it 3-2 with a slap shot just inside the point that found its way through a crowded field of players and past Elliott with just under two minutes remaining. An extremely soft Hooking call on Andrighetto with just under one minute left to play ended Colorado's comeback bid and Gaudreau scored into an empty net to make it 4-2, the game's final score.
1. Sean Monahan
2. Sven Andrighetto
3. Brian Elliott
PLAY OF THE GAME
Ferland's goal was another example of Gaudreau's wizardry with the puck as he faked Colorado's defense out and got everyone out of sorts with his puck-handling.
Brouwer's goal ensured the Avalanche wouldn't make it a competitive third period for long as getting that third goal meant the Avs were done for the night.
BY THE NUMBERS
Colorado returns home to take on the Washington Capitals on Wednesday night.