If the preseason is any indication, Curtis Glencross
is going to be a man on fire in the goals department when the regular season kicks off.
The forward potted two goals, including a short-handed tally, in the Calgary Flames 5-3 victory over the Edmonton Oilers. The veteran-laden lineup were firing on all cylinders and were able to outplay the Oilers at both ends of the rink. The win gives the Flames a 3-3-0 record during the preseason.
Glencross, who admitted his game in Saskatoon on Saturday was off, has bounced back. The left-winger now has four goals in his last three contests and shows no signs of slowing down.
"I think Glencross has been our best player,” injured Flame Craig Conroy (groin) told the FAN 960."
"He’s been playing great. I told him to slow it down though, save some for the regular season. He’s just such a great player, a good skater, good shot. He does everything well. I think this is going to be a great year for Glenny."
Coming off a disappointing 5-4 shootout loss to Vancouver, the Flames aimed to correct a nagging issue – slow starts. In every game they’ve played, the Flames have come out of the gate looking sluggish. This hasn’t gone unnoticed by the coaching staff.
"Brent said after the game that we didn’t lose in the last ten seconds, we lost in the first 20 minutes," Brandon Prust told the FAN 960 of the loss on Monday.
"We haven’t had too many good starts this preseason … we’ve got to have better starts."
The message from Sutter seemed to hit home. Glencross scored his third goal in three games just 1:34 into the game. While the Flames did allow two goals in the first 20 minutes, they were much more proactive in terms of offense and the period ended with tied.
It was the first time Miikka Kiprusoff has seen a full 60 minutes during the preseason and a lot of people were curious to see how the netminder would fare after some sub-par performances.
Kiprusoff – who is the only NHL goaltender to average over 75 games over a year the past four seasons – looked very sharp in the second period when Edmonton sent a barrage of shots at the Flames net. He made several big saves and didn’t allow the Oilers to put anything past him.
He was solid throughout the third period, denying a surging Oilers team on many occasions. He did allow one goal in the final frame while Edmonton was on the power play.
The Flames power play was on display nine times over the game as the Oilers were fairly undisciplined. The team has been practicing their special teams plays quite frequently and it's been working out for the Flames.
"We didn’t have a set system last year, we just went out and did what we wanted, and this year we know what we’re doing," Conroy said.
Prust is already feeling positive about all the practice of the basic power play system set up by Sutter.
"We’re trying to learn this now so that when we’re on the ice you don’t even have to think about it, it just comes naturally."
The Theoren Fleury comeback story added another chapter as the 41 year-old played in his third straight game and earned his third point in that stretch. He assisted on Glencross’s first tally and had several key scoring chances throughout the night.
"It’s obviously a feel-good story," said childhood Oiler fan Mike Comrie.
"He always seemed to be one of those guys who was a thorn in the Oilers. He’s a great player … I wish him well."
The last two games against divisional rivals have been a good test for Fleury. Neither the Canucks or Oilers gave the star any extra room, checking him as they would any other player, and he has been able to withstand the test. He even received some cheers for the Edmonton fans when his assist
Conroy has been watching Fleury closely and feels that the pint-sized forward has a real shot at earning a roster shot.
"He’s done so well ... it’s a story that’s captivated the whole city. I think he really has a chance."