EDMONTON – Calgary Flames forward Rene Bourque enjoys playing against his provincial rivals from Edmonton, and it shows.
Bourque earned his second career hat trick as the Flames ended a three-game losing skid, defeating the Oilers 4-1 on Monday night.
The 28-year-old native of Lac La Biche, Alta., has 10 points in four games against the Oilers this season.
“It seems to be a good team for me to play against,” Bourque said. “I had a lot of family and friends here for this game and it is always nice to be able to perform like that with them around to watch it.”
Mark Giordano also scored for the Flames (21-12-5) who have won just four games in December.
“We were pretty bad at home our last game (a 5-1 loss to Vancouver on Sunday) and we knew we needed to win this game,” said Flames assistant captain Jay Bouwmeester. “We allowed a lot of shots early, but we settled down and played a lot better after that. Miikka (Kiprusoff) has held us in there time and time again and he did it again tonight.”
Ryan Potulny replied for the Oilers (15-20-4) who have now lost seven games in a row, their worst losing skid since a nine-game streak from Feb. 25 to March 15, 2007.
Oilers head coach Pat Quinn said it looked like his team was in full control through most of the early stages of the game but then they allowed the Flames back into it.
“We should have put some of those (16 first period shots) in and then the sad thing is we give up a crappy goal at the end of the period,” he said. “It was such a weak goal and it took the steam out of us a little bit.
“Until we have the mental strength to fight through something like that, that is what is going to happen. We’re going to have to find a way to turn the corner and not give up the easy stuff.”
Potulny said the Oilers are a work in progress.
“It’s just not working for us right now,” he said. “We’re working hard and it’s going to come I know it. You can see guys coming together for each other, they’re fighting for each other and that’s what we need to do at a time like this, come together as a team.”
Edmonton opened the scoring 2:02 into the game. The puck came back to defenceman Jason Strudwick during a mad scramble in front of Kiprusoff, and his shot was tipped in by Potulny.
The ensuing face-off displayed a bit of the historic animosity between the provincial rivals as Andrew Cogliano dropped the gloves for his first ever NHL fight with Calgary’s Dustin Boyd.
Calgary appeared to have scored on the power play with three minutes remaining in the opening frame, but a video review concluded that Curtis Glencross had batted the puck in with a high stick.
However, just two minutes later the Flames evened it up as Nigel Dawes hustled to a puck behind the Edmonton net and made a quick pass out front to Bourque ,who chipped it past Oilers starter Jeff Deslauriers to make it 1-1.
Edmonton outshot the Flames 16-5 in the first period.
The Flames took the lead midway through the second on the power play as Olli Jokinen’s shot hit the crossbar and landed in the crease, where it was swept in by Bourque for his second of the game and 12th of the season.
Bourque completed the natural hat trick five minutes into the third period as he directed in a rebound from a short-handed shot by Daymond Langkow to make it 3-1.
It was 4-1 less than two minutes later as Giordano beat Deslauriers glove-side with a quick wrist shot from the middle of the face-off circle.
The final five minutes featured three more fights, including Calgary captain Jarome Iginla squaring off with Ladislav Smid.
Both teams return to the ice on Wednesday with the Oilers hosting Toronto and Calgary starting a three-game homestand against Los Angeles.
Notes: It was the fourth of six meetings between the two teams with Calgary also winning all three of the earlier encounters… Edmonton’s Dustin Penner played in his 300th NHL game… It was Oiler defenceman Sheldon Souray’s first game against the Flames since he was tripped into the boards and injured by Calgary’s Jarome Iginla on Oct. 8… Iginla has now gone six games without scoring against the Oilers and 10 games without scoring at Rexall Place in Edmonton… Flames forward Craig Conroy, who had 12 goals in each of the last two seasons, has yet to score this season, now at 36 games without a goal… Goalie Nikolai Khabibulin has now missed 16 games with a back injury since his last start on Nov. 18 and is still out indefinitely… Olli Jokinen recorded his 300th career assist on Calgary’s first period goal.