With the win, Colorado coach Joel Quenneville now has 400 career NHL victories.
"Well, we are very fortunate," Quenneville said. "It was one of those games where we were on our heels.
"It was a game we certainly didn't deserve to win but sometimes you get goaltending wins."
The Avalanche opened the scoring when Sakic converted a feed from Wojtek Wolski at 7:27 of the first period. A short time later, Tanguay got behind the Avalanche defense, but was thwarted by Theodore on a breakaway attempt.
"We feel very fortunate to get the two points and that's what great goaltending will do for you," Sakic said. "All the credit goes to Theo for keeping us in there and giving us a chance."
Tanguay scored on his next try, taking a pass from Daymond Langkow and snapping a quick shot to the top corner.
The Flames took a 2-1 lead in the second on Lombardi's goal. He stripped took the puck from Avs defenseman Jeff Finger before snapping a quick shot past Theodore.
Early in the third, the Flames had a great opportunity to pull ahead on an extended two-man advantage. Tanguay appeared to score his second of the game, with his shot squeaking through Theodore's pads and just across the goal line, but referee Michael McGeough immediately blew the whistle to signify he lost sight of the puck.
"I hope he'll admit his mistake because it was definitely a mistake," Tanguay said. "I made the pass to Langkow and he touched the puck.
"The puck, you can clearly see it on the replay, it never stopped moving, so there's no reason why the whistle should have been blown or at least why he didn't review it."
Just as a high-sticking penalty to Tanguay was about to expire, the Avs tied it when Svatos backhanded a rebound past Kiprusoff.
- Sakic has 100 points against the Flames, 40 goals and 60 assists.
- Colorado coach Joel Quenneville reached 400 NHL victories.
- Avalanche defenseman Jordan Leopold will be sidelined for about two months by wrist surgery.