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Monahan has goal, 3 assists in Flames' win over hapless Avalanche 

By: The Associated Press
March 28, 2017 Updated: March 28, 2017 at 8:12 am
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CALGARY, Alberta — Another big night for Sean Monahan's line has the red-hot Calgary Flames one win away from clinching a playoff spot.

Monahan scored his team-leading 26th goal and added three assists and the Flames beat the Colorado Avalanche 4-2 on Monday.

With six games remaining, Calgary can clinch a playoff spot for just the second time in the past eight seasons with a regulation win over Los Angeles on Wednesday.

"Confidence is big for our club. When we start going and everyone's playing their role we're a hard team to beat," said Monahan, whose four-point night ties a career-high.

Monahan's linemates Micheal Ferland and Johnny Gaudreau also scored, as did Troy Brouwer. Calgary has won nine of its past 10 games at home.

"I'm proud of the guys and the spot they've put themselves in," Flames coach Glen Gulutzan said. "A lot of hard work went into that and now we need to finish it off."

It's been quite a turnaround for a hockey club that was 5-10-1 in mid-November and had the worst winning percentage in the NHL.

"There were a few dark days in this locker room, but what we've been able to do from December on has been great for this room and great for this city," said Brouwer, who scored his third goal in the last four games. "To play a big game against a division rival on Wednesday and be able to clinch playoffs and get this hockey club back in the playoffs, it means a lot to everybody in here."

The Flames remain fourth in the Pacific Division but are just one point back of both the Edmonton Oilers and San Jose Sharks, who each hold a game in hand.

Sven Andrighetto scored both goals for Colorado. His second came with 1:54 remaining and the goalie pulled. The last-place Avalanche have lost six games in a row overall and nine straight on the road.

"We're just trying to talk to them about being loose and playing like we have nothing to lose and making sure that we're creating enough opportunities," Avs coach Jared Bednar said.

Handed a power play 23 seconds into the game, Calgary took advantage with Monahan's shot deflecting in off the stick of defenseman Erik Johnson.

The score stayed that way until 4:33 of the second when Ferland took a feed from Gaudreau and fired in his 15th goal. That goal was the culmination of a stretch of extended pressure that began when Johnson coughed up the puck in the neutral zone leading to a 3-on-1.

The Avs got on the scoreboard at 3:06 of the third period on a power play when Johnson's shot missed the net, but Andrighetto swatted the lively rebound off the end boards past Brian Elliott.

Calgary restored its two-goal cushion less than two minutes later on a power play. Off the rush, Monahan zipped a cross-ice pass across to Brouwer, who beat Calvin Pickard inside the goal post. Brouwer's third goal in the past four games gives him 13 on the season.

Elliott made 24 saves. The Flames goaltender is 13-1-0 in his past 14 starts.

Pickard had 23 stops for Colorado.

NOTES: Gaudreau's assist was his 200th point, which comes in 226 games. It's the fastest a Flame has reached that milestone in over 25 years. ... Flames rookie defenseman Rasmus Andersson, still awaiting his first NHL action, was a scratch for the ninth game since being summoned from Stockton (AHL). ... Calgary improved to 31-0-1 when leading after two periods.

UP NEXT:

Avalanche: Host the Capitals on Wednesday night.

Flames: Host the Kings on Wednesday night.

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