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Jones, Varlamov Lift Avs To Seventh Place

The Avs Earn Two Valuable Points Against Division Rival Flames

Wednesday, 03.21.2012 / 1:12 AM / News
By Ron Knabenbauer
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Jones, Varlamov Lift Avs To Seventh Place
It figures that on the first day of spring, there was a playoff-like intensity on the ice of Pepsi Center.
 
It also figures that with a spot into the postseason on the line, both the Colorado Avalanche and the Calgary Flames found a way to pick up a point. However, it was David Jones’ second overtime goal of the season that gave Colorado a 2-1 victory and the crucial extra point.
 
“We owed them that for sure,” Jones said. “We’ve played them hard all season and it is only fitting that we are in such a tight (playoff) race with them coming down the stretch.”
 
The win is Colorado’s first against Calgary this year and ends a nine-game losing streak versus its divisional rival. The Avs last defeated the Flames on Oct. 28, 2010.
 
Jones’ winner came with 1:09 left in overtime after he picked up a rebound on a Paul Stastny shot and banked it off the back of Calgary goaltender Miikka Kiprusoff’s right pad.
 
“Stastny went to the net and I just tried throwing it off his back or whatever,” Jones said. “I got a nice bounce. I wasn’t getting too many tonight so it is nice to get that one.”
 
The overtime goal is Jones’ fifth of his NHL career and puts him in some pretty good company as he is third in franchise history in the statistic behind Milan Hejduk’s nine and Joe Sakic’s seven.
 
What might be even more impressive is that all of the OT winners have come since Jan. 1, 2011. That is the most overtime goals of any NHL player during that time span (Alex Ovechkin and Steven Stamkos both have four).
 
Just minutes prior to the game-winning goal, Jones collided with Calgary defenseman Cory Sarich at center ice, with Sarich getting the worse of the hit.
 
“I didn’t even see him. We just collided,” Jones said of the hit. “I hope he is OK. It is just one of those things of going to where the puck was, and I’m kind of happy that I saw him at the last second.”
 
Colorado continues its hot play in games that go beyond regulation as the Avs are 16-5 in games that go past 60 minutes. Overall, the Avs are 7-3 in overtime and 9-2 in shootouts, with those 16 combined OT/shootout victories best among all NHL teams.
 
The Avs will now head to Arizona for a meeting with the Phoenix Coyotes on Thursday night before returning home on Saturday to play the Vancouver Canucks.
 
Currently, Colorado has 85 points (40-30-5), one more than Phoenix (84 points, 36-26-12) after the Coyotes fell 4-3 in a shootout to Dallas on Tuesday.
 
The Avalanche and Flames will meet one more time during the regular season, March 30 in Calgary
 
No Power Play, No Problem
 
For the sixth time this season, the Avalanche didn’t receive a power play opportunity - which is the most in the league.
 
Also, Colorado has received the least amount of power plays in the NHL this season with 204 chances, and even though it may be at times annoying that the team is not getting the calls, Paul Stastny said the team is not worry about it.
 
“Hopefully, when we go down the stretch, we’ll get some more power plays,” Stastny said. 
“As long as we are winning and not getting power plays, that is fine by us.”
The Avs haven’t been burned by the penalties they have taken either, as they’ve killed off all 11 opponent’s power-play chances over the last four games.
 
No Big Deal, Just Another Win For Varly
 
Semyon Varlamov continued his hot play, stopping 31 of Calgary’s 32 shots in the game for his 25th win of the season.
 
Varlamov has won his last five starts, which equals his longest single-season winning streak, set Oct. 3-29, 2009. He is 10-2 in his last 12 contests.
 
The only puck that got past the Russian goalie came early in the first period by the Flames’ Matt Stajan.
 
Another Rookie Honor For Landeskog
 
Gabriel Landeskog’s superb rookie season continues as the Sweden native picked up another accolade on Tuesday night.
 
Landeskog finished with three hits in the game against Calgary, bringing his season total to 202. He is only the second rookie to surpass 20 goals and 200 hits in a season, joining Dion Phaneuf in 2005-06. He leads all rookie forwards in hits this year.
 
The Avalanche’s Calder Trophy candidate is the only player on the team to play every game this season and has posted 21 goals and 26 assists (47 points).
 
More Notes
 
Colorado improved to 5-0-1 in its last six games, the club’s longest streak without a regulation loss this season.
 
The Avs are 7-1-1 in their last nine games and 11-3-1 in their last 15…Those 11 wins are tied with Pittsburgh for the most victories in the NHL since Feb. 22.
 
The Avs won their fourth straight home game and improved to 8-2-0 in their last 10 here at Pepsi Center.
 
Colorado has won its last five games against Northwest Division opponents after starting the year 2-13-1 versus their division rivals (now 7-13-1).
 
The Avalanche reached the 40-win mark for the 13th time in 16 seasons since moving to Denver in 1995-96.
 
The Avs improved to 23-9-5 in one-goal games, tied with Philadelphia for the most one-goal victories in the league.
 
Paul Stastny scored his 19th goal of the season, leaving him one shy of reaching the 20-goal mark for the fifth time in six NHL seasons.
 
Stastny has 38 points (14g/24a) in 34 career games against the Flames, his most points versus any NHL opponent.
 
Shane O’Brien’s assist tonight gives him 17 points on the year (2g/15a), which is now the second-highest total of his career…His career high is 21 points in 2007-08…O’Brien’s 15 helpers this year are also the second-most of his career, just two shy of his 17 in 2007-08.

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