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Game Rush: Pushing back

by Mike Board / Calgary Flames


EDMONTON  -- This was not just another mid-season game in a long National Hockey League schedule. This was time to push back. Time to stand up and be counted.

The Calgary Flames, coming off a 5-1 loss Sunday at home to Vancouver, needed to be a burly bunch for Round 4 of the Battle of Alberta. They needed to play tough, get good goaltending and put the puck in the net.
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And that's what they did, sending the Edmonton Oilers to their seventh consecutive loss with a 4-1 win at Rexall Place.

Calgary was paced offensively by Rene Bourque who had a natural hat trick, including his third shorthanded goal of the season that made it 3-1. Bourque scored at even strength, with the man advantage and shorthanded. Mark Giordano added the Flames fourth goal.

This Battle of Alberta opened with not two heavyweights dropping the gloves, but two lightweights exchanging blows that something is

Seriously, when was the last time you saw Dustin Boyd and Andrew Cogliano fight? That's what happened early in the first period of Monday's critical game for Alberta's two teams. Boyd scored a TKO, staggering Cogliano with some late blows.In the third Jarome Iginla dropped the gloves with Ladislav Smid and was just gaining the advantage in that bout when the linesmen stepped in. Moments later Robyn Regehr, prompted by Steve Staios, pounded on the Oilers defenceman in another fight. Aaron Johnson and Ryan Stone wrapped up the pugilistic matters with one final fight.

The Flames, stinging from Sunday's loss and looking to snap a three-game losing streak, were looking to bounce back. Consider that accomplished.

"There are areas that we need to get a lot better at and it is something we are working on," head coach Brent Sutter said prior to the game. "We certainly need to rise our game up to where it needs to be."

Sutter was then asked about the leadership on the team.

"I think there are quality leaders in that dressing room that are looking for direction," said Sutter who saw his two main leaders, Iginla and Regehr stand up and fight in the third period.

Asked if Sutter could provide them that direction, he quickly replied: "Absolutely, that's my job."

The Flames players and coaches held some meetings following the loss and the message was simple: Play Flames hockey.

"As a team we have to play a certain way," said Sutter. "When we play that way we are a tough team to play against. When we don't play that we are an easy team to play against and the last couple of weeks we have been an easy team to play against."

Calgary started slowly in Monday's game and were outshot in the first period 16-5. Overall, the Oilers outshot the Flames 35 to 23. But the Flames won the battles along the walls, the battle on scoreboard and most of the fighting battles, too.

The Flames return home to host the Los Angeles Kings on Wednesday. Game time is 7:30 p.m. MST on Rogers Sportsnet West & The FAN 960.

The Flames had a slow start but got solid goaltending from Miikka Kiprusoff long enough for Calgary to get the offence kicked in. Rene Bourque's second career hat trick sparked the Flames offensively and his shorthanded goal in the third period was the back-breaker for the Oilers. The Flames were strong along the boards in what was a physical game.

Staffan Kronwall and Brian McGrattan were healthy scratches. D Cory Sarich remains out with a lower body injury...The Flames shuffled their lines in a big way after a 5-1 loss to Vancouver. Jarome Iginla and Olli Jokinen were split up as Daymond Langkow and Curtis Glencross were placed ont he top line with the Flames captain. Jokinen, who was benched in the third period of Sunday's game, was put on the second line with Rene Bourque and Nigel Dawes. That line responded with two even-strength goals (both from Bourque with assists for Jokinen)...

The Flames shorthanded goal was their sixth of the season and ties them with Atlanta and Chicago for the most in the NHL...The Flames were one-for-five with the man advantage. The Oilers were 0-5...Olli Jokinen's 19th assist of the season on Rene Bourque's first period goal was the 300th of his career...Bourque, with a hat trick, now has 10 points, including five goals, in four games against Edmonton this season...Two Calgary Flames celebrated their birthdays on gameday. Curtis Glencross and David Moss were born Dec. 28 in 1982 and 1981 respectively...The Flames have won the first four Battles of Alberta this season by a combined score of 17-9...The two teams meet again, this time in Calgary, on New Years Eve...

"I thought our purpose was better tonight. In the first period we gave up more opportunities than we would have liked. We got through the first and were better in the second and third. We were able to play four lines. Obviously Kipper played really well for us. It's a step in the direction we need to get back into." -- head coach Brent Sutter.

"It was one of those nights that I seemed to find the puck around the net." -- Rene Bourque on his hat trick

"We've been up and down in our consistency and some players need to do some soul-searching" - Assistant coach Rob Cookson, prior to the win over Edmonton




Miikka Kiprusoff
Makes plenty of key stops at key times
Olli Jokinen
Drove net, showed lots of compete
Rene Bourque
Hat trick for winger over provincial rivals

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