CALGARY – Rene Bourque and Curtis Glencross were brought to Calgary over the summer to boost the Flames’ secondary scoring. So far, they’re delivering.
Bourque scored twice Tuesday night while Glencross contributed a goal and two assists to lead Flames to a 6-2 victory over the Los Angeles Kings. Centre Craig Conroy (three assists) also had a big night offensively as the Flames’ third line played as if it was the team’s top unit.
Conroy knows the more they the rest of the team can produce, the less the team has to rely solely on Jarome Iginla, which has often been the case in previous years.
“Maybe these guys weren’t always on the first line wherever they’ve played before, but they’ve been able to score, put points up and contribute and take the pressure off of Jarome,” said Conroy. “Jarome’s playing against the best ‘D’, usually the checking forwards, so it’s hard for him. If we can chip in and help relieve him, that’s the key for us.”
Both of Bourque’s goals came on beautiful plays. He gave Calgary a 2-0 lead at 18:29 of the first period when he stormed through centre and into the Kings zone, ripping a 30-foot wrist shot into the top corner.
Bourque’s sixth goal of the season at 9:20 of the third period came after he was set up neatly at the side of the net on a nifty cross-ice pass from Conroy. That goal gave the Flames a 6-1 lead.
Meanwhile, Glencross has put together a nice streak with eight points (two goals, six assists) in the last six games.
“I’m starting to feel more comfortable now,” Glencross said. “It takes a while to settle in and get to know all the guys. We’ve been together for a few months now. I’m finding that chemistry with Connie and whoever is on the other side – (Dustin) Boyd, (David) Moss, or Rene tonight”.
Mike Cammalleri, Iginla, and David Moss also scored for Calgary (12-9-1). The Flames are heating up again, having won three of their last four after a cold stretch in which they lost five of seven.
Next on the schedule for the Flames is back-to-back games against division rival Vancouver, beginning Thursday night at GM Place.
Alexander Frolov and Anze Kopitar scored for Los Angeles (8-9-3). First year Kings coach Terry Murray was frank in his assessment of his club’s performance.
“Calgary is a better team than we are, that’s all there was to it tonight,” said Murray. “They beat us to every area in the ice, shots, goals, they controlled the boards, they made all kinds of plays whenever they wanted to make plays and they are a much better team than we are.”
Calgary goaltender Miikka Kiprusoff made 24 saves for the victory. His shutout bid ended 3:38 into the third period when Wayne Simmonds set up Frolov for a short-handed goal.
“You have to be prepared from the drop of the puck and it was evident tonight that we weren’t and it showed,” said Simmonds. “You want to get your legs early when you’re playing on the road and we didn’t get them all game.”
Trailing the Flames 2-0 after 20 minutes, the Kings got into further trouble early in the second period when, 11 seconds into a penalty kill, Los Angeles centre Michal Handzus backhanded a puck into the crowd drawing a delay of game penalty.
The Flames took advantage of the two-man advantage with Iginla sliding in a rebound off the end boards after Dion Phaneuf’s slapshot sailed wide of the net and caromed sharply out the other side.
Making his 10th consecutive start, Kings goaltender Erik Ersberg was pulled at 10:07 of the second after Glencross made it 4-0.
Ersberg left having made 14 saves. Jason LaBarbera replaced him and made 15 saves over the final 30 minutes.
Calgary opened the scoring when its newly formed No. 1 line connected at 9:11 of the first period. Breaking down the right wing, Matthew Lombardi fired a cross-ice pass to Iginla, who had the puck knocked off his stick but Cammalleri was right there to snap his sixth goal past Ersberg.
Calgary centre Dustin Boyd left the game in the second period after being involved in a heavy collision along the side boards in the Flames end.
Notes: Los Angeles RW John Zeiler serving the first game of a three-game suspension opened up a line-up spot for C Derek Armstrong, who had been scratched nine of the previous 10 games. . . Kings D Denis Gauthier played his first game back in Calgary since 2004. Gauthier played 384 NHL games in nine seasons with the Flames organization. . . The Kings were playing just their sixth road game. No other NHL team has played fewer than eight games away from home. . . Since giving up four power-play goals on nine attempts against San Jose on Nov. 13, the Flames have been short handed just eight times combined in the four games since and have killed off all eight.