CALGARY – Three nights ago, Brandon Prust’s first NHL goal powered the Calgary Flames to victory. On Tuesday night, it was Curtis Glencross’s turn.
Glencross’s first goal in a Flames jersey broke a scoreless tie in the third period and Calgary won its fourth game in a row, 3-0 over the Colorado Avalanche.
The go-ahead marker was set up by hard work behind the Colorado net by Flames forwards Craig Conroy and David Moss. Moss ended up with the puck after a battle along the boards and whipped a backhand pass to Glencross, who one-timed a shot past Avalanche goaltender Peter Budaj.
“It’s fun to get that first one, I’ve had a couple chances this year so far but haven’t had the luck. It’s nice to get that one and hopefully they’ll come in bunches now,” said Glencross, who signed with the Flames as a free agent in the summer.
Calgary coach Mike Keenan said that when a role player like Glencross gets a big goal like that, especially when it’s his first goal, the team really feeds off it.
“When they are rewarded, you feel good for them, and the team embraces their efforts as well,” Keenan said. “It’s just like Prust scoring in Phoenix. It really energized the team. It makes them feel great and makes the team very positive about their contribution”.
With the sold out Pengrowth Saddledome crowd of 19,289 suddenly buzzing, the Flames went straight back to the attack and were rewarded with goals from Rene Bourque and Mike Cammalleri.
“We did want we wanted to, we got the puck behind their D-men and forced them and it finally worked out for us in the third getting two out of our three goals off the cycle,” said Bourque.
Miikka Kiprusoff finished with 22 saves for his first shutout of the season and 27th of his career. Kiprusoff faced just two shots in the final 20 minutes en route to his 150th NHL victory.
“Two shots, that’s unbelievable in a close game like that,” Kiprusoff said. “We got the lead there and we were able to shut them down. Those are huge points for us.”
Bourque and Cammalleri both each ended up with two points for Calgary (6-3-1). Like Glencross, Bourque and Cammalleri came over to the Flames in the summer, acquired via trades with the Chicago Blackhawks and Los Angeles Kings respectively.
“We’re paying pretty good attention to detail right now,” said Cammalleri, when asked to explain the team’s turnaround over the past 10 days. “To a man, we’re making a righteous effort to do the right thing out there and we’re holding each other accountable.”
Colorado (5-4-0) saw its five-game winning streak come to an end. The Avalanche had not lost since dropping a 5-4 decision to the Flames in Calgary on Oct. 14.
“They were real sharp on their forecheck and they played from behind our net and all three goals came from behind our goal-line,” said Avalanche coach Tony Granato.
Bourque’s insurance goal at 12:58 came when he faked going behind the net, then reached back and tucked the puck inside the near post.
Cammalleri rounded out the scoring, one-timing Bourque’s centring pass.
“They stuck to their game plan and in the third it paid off for them,” said Colorado centre Ian Laperriere. “They played hard, they played good defensively, and they didn’t cheat on the offensive zone to get goals. That third and fourth line took it to us and pretty much beat us.”
The teams combined for 24 shots in the first period but could not solve either goaltender, and the second period was equally barren.
Colorado came closest to scoring when Laperriere’s slapshot from the face-off dot glanced off the webbing of Kiprusoff’s glove before bouncing off the far goal post.
Veteran centre Joe Sakic had two good chances less than a minute later, but both his initial wrist shot from 20 feet out and his follow-up rebound from close-in were repelled by Kiprusoff.
“Both teams had their chances and both goalies played really well but Kipper played unbelievable for us tonight,” said Glencross.
Notes: Calgary D Adrian Aucoin entered the night last on the Flames at minus-6. Despite his six goals, Bertuzzi is a minus-5. Flames D Dion Phaneuf leads the team at plus-2… Sakic’s 40 goals and 103 points in 84 career games versus Calgary are the most he’s scored against any NHL team… Calgary C Matthew Lombardi (upper body) missed his second game in a row… Calgary goaltending prospect Matt Keetley, 22, is 3-3-0 with Quad City (AHL) with a 1.65 goals-against average and .944 save percentage. Last week, he was named AHL player of the week.