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Firsts fuel Flames in victory over Winnipeg

by Aaron Vickers / Calgary Flames

It wasn't ideal to wait that long, but I've been getting a lot of chances. I didn't expect tonight to be the night.Hopefully tonight opens up the ketchup bottle and they start flowing.Brandon Bollig

CALGARY, AB -- Raphael Diaz’s first as a member of the Calgary Flames couldn’t have come at a better time. Brandon Bollig’s, too.

The pair each found the back of the net for the first time as Flames to help Calgary earn their third win in four games and seventh in the past nine contests.

“I'm not mistaken, I know I'm not here to score goals, but it's nice when it happens,” Bollig said. “Last year I had a pretty decent year as a fourth-liner, point-wise. It wasn't ideal to wait that long, but I've been getting a lot of chances. I didn't expect tonight to be the night.

“Hopefully tonight opens up the ketchup bottle and they start flowing.”

Bollig was acquired by the Flames on June 28th in exchange for the 83rd overall pick (used to select Matteson Iacopelli) in the 2014 NHL Draft.

The Flames signed Diaz in early October.

His first, through a screen just 4:24 into the third period, stood as the game-winner.

“I try to shoot every time I can on the ice,” said Diaz, whose goal came on his 21st shot of the season. “It was a nice pass by [Joe Colborne], he gets into the puck. It came back to me and then I closed the eyes and shot.

“I knew the other guy was coming to me so I had to hurry up to shoot. I'm really happy to get my first one.”

Colborne set up Bollig’s first, too.

Streaking in on a 2-on-1, Colborne fed Bollig for a cross-crease tap-in to get him off the schneid.

“He was pumped,” Colborne said. “You love to see those guys score and he’s had some good chances. He’s got such a good shot. He said he knew I was coming across to him. It was nice to get him that one and to get Raffi one too.

“Raffi’s had us over at his house a few times for dinner. Hopefully we’ll keep that going.”

Bollig was complimentary of Colborne’s effort on his goal.

“Great play by him, a selfless play,” said Bollig, who has 50 shots this season. “He told me he was passing the whole way.

“I don't score much so I kinda black out when I do. I just knew overall it was a great first play by Paul (Byron), and for Colbs to get it over to me was huge. I think it was a pretty easy finish after those two nice plays.

“I would say relief is a big word. Coming here, I kinda wanted to make them look good for trading for me, so it was not ideal to wait that long to put one in. It's nice it finally came. That was a big win for us and I don't think it would have meant as much if we didn't get two points.”

The goals are especially important in helping the Flames chase down those ahead of them in the Western Conference standings.

The two points pulled Calgary to within one of the Jets in the Western Conference while allowing them to leapfrog the Vancouver Canucks and into third in the Pacific Division.

Bollig knows the significance.

“That was a huge game for us,” he said. “We're battling for a playoff spot with these guys and we're really close in the standings. They're having a great year like we are, and I think surprising a lot of people, so those two points are huge for us. We need to keep doing that and banking points.

“We're looking forward. It's been a little while for this team to play in the post-season, so that's our number-one goal. Regardless of where we end up, we want to be in the post-season, so any point is huge here.”

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