CALGARY, AB -- If the Calgary Flames performance against the Philadelphia Flyers on Monday was described as flatlining, their solid 4-1 victory over the Carolina Hurricanes can be interpreted as a resurrection.
Curtis Glencross scored his first career hat trick in the commanding win and Matt Stajan notched his first as a member of the Flames.
"Everyone played well tonight," Glencross said. "We had a few too many penalties and sometimes that happens but we battled through and killed a lot of penalties tonight. They got one on us, but at the same time, we've got to take all the positives that we did get out of it.
When asked when his last hat trick was, Glencross could only chuckle.
"It probably would have been midget hockey. It's been awhile," he smiled. "I'd have to look back and see."
Overall, the entire squad played with energy and if it wasn't for Hurricanes netminder Cam Ward's heroics, they could have easily scored six or seven goals.
"It was something that we talked about," Glencross said of team's jump. "We need four lines to play and as long as we're playing even strength, we can roll four lines over pretty easy. When you look at the lineup now, we're pretty deep with four lines and it's good that we all showed up and played tonight as a team."
The winger was put on a new line with Eric Nystrom and Jamal Mayers and the trio seemed to gel immediately. Glencross attributed the line's simple plays to their success.
"We don't do anything too fancy out there. We just get the puck in and get on their defense. We got on their defense quite early and their defense didn't really want to go back and get the puck too much when they're hearing footsteps. That helped with our cycle and we just got pucks to the net."
Glencross scored his first of the night just under 3:00 into the game when an Eric Nystrom shot bounced off Ward, off Glencross and into the back of the net. It was the prettiest in his career but Glencross gladly took it.
"I'll take them any way possible. It hit me in the arm. I credit that one to our pregame soccer match, playing hacky sack out there, trying to get the ball around. It felt good. Sometimes you just need a break like that to get things going and I was fortunate tonight."
The Hurricanes captain Eric Staal continued his hot streak, picking up his 15th point in 10 games, when Joni Pitkanen's rocket hit him and beat Kiprusoff at 7:19 of the second period. The power play goal was Staal's 9th on this 10-game point streak. It drew the visitors even for a short period of time but it would be the only goal they could muster against a fired-up Flames club.
The Flames took the lead again when Stajan scored his first as a Flame. He drove to the net hard and was able to scoop up Jarome Igina's rebound. It was Stajan's 17th marker of the season.
Glencross gave Calgary a two-goal cushion with a rocket that beat Ward cleanly, throwing the water bottle five feet into the air when the puck hit the net. Jay Bouwmeester facilitated the play, carrying the puck into the offensive zone before calmly making a backhand pass to a streaking Glencross. Afterwards, the winger doled out praise to the smooth-skating blueliner for his pass.
"It's something where Bo and I, we haven't had much success heating up this year and we always talk about. I sent him out of the penalty box the other night and it rolled off his stick and he said 'It's just you,' so before we went out for the second period (tonight), he rubbed my stick with his stick," he said with a smile. "He made a great pass wide to me, he made a perfect pass. We talked about getting pucks to the net and I just took a shot at 'er."
Glencross added an empty-netter to complete his hat trick.
"I was surprised. I didn't even know the goalie was out," Glencross said. "I thought I just had a breakaway so I was going a little fast and slowed down when I realized the goalie was out. I'll never forget it, it's my first career hat trick."
Hats rained down and the C of Red let loose a loud roar that hasn't been heard in quite some time. Glencross was quick to acknowledge that the fans approval was noted and appreciated.
"It's good to see the fans come out for us tonight and they were all there tonight."
The Flames will head out for a three-game road swing on Friday when they take on the Florida Panthers. The puck drops at 5:30 p.m. MST on Rogers Sportsnet West & The FAN 960.
|THE TURNING POINT |
|Mark Giordano gave sports networks another "Hit of the Year" candidate in the second period when he out-muscled Joni Pitkanen with one arm and sent the blueliner into the Hurricanes bench. The crowd, which was already pretty involved thanks to the jump of the Flames, screamed out it's approval and Calgary never looked back. That hit gave the entire Flames bench another shot of life and they kept that energy level for the rest of the game. |
|ROSTER NOTES |
|D Aaron Johnson, F Brian McGrattan and F Jamie Lundmark were healthy scratches for the Flames. The Hurricanes left D Niclas Wallin, F Eric Cole and F Chad LaRose out of the lineup. |
|TONIGHT'S DIGITS |
|999 - Career games for Iginla. He'll play #1000 in Florida on Friday. |
14 - Goals on the year for Glencross.
9 - Flames penalties through 60 minutes.
5 - Shots on net for Ales Kotalik in his Flames debut.
|"The past is the past and we did something about it today. We've got to build off tonight's win." - Stajan on his team's powerful performance. |
"I was a little surprised at how good I was feeling out there in the first (period). I think we lost a life in the second when we took that many penalties but we tried to stick with it, tried to generate some pressure down low. I think we can be more successful in the upcoming games." - Kotalik on how well his line, comprised of Daymond Langkow and Christopher Higgins, played in their first game together.
"The pace is higher up here than in the American Hockey League but the style of the game is the same. I learned a lot down there in the AHL." - Mikael Backlund on how he's adjusting to becoming a full time NHLer.
|HARDEST WORKING FLAMES |
| || || || |
|Curtis Glencross |
Scored his first career hat trick and looked great for 60 minutes
| ||Ales Kotalik |
5 shots on net, 3 of his shots blocked, 3 hits in his debut
| ||Matt Stajan |
Created a lot of scoring chances and scored the winner