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The Game Rush: Flames vs. Stars

by Torie Peterson / Calgary Flames

CALGARY, AB -- The Calgary Flames continued their amazing hot streak with a 4-2 victory over the Dallas Stars on Wednesday night.

The Flames now have points in 20 of their last 24 games. They're currently tied with the Anaheim Ducks, San Jose Sharks, Nashville Predators and Stars with 68 points.

The ice was tilted in Calgary's favour through the first 20 minutes. Olli Jokinen opened the scoring while the Flames outshoot the Stars 16-3. Jokinen and his linemates, Curtis Glencross and David Moss, continued their strong play of late. They combined for four shots on net and dictated the play every time they were on the ice.

Dallas pressed back in the middle frame, notching the equalizer after Mike Ribeiro's shot bounced off Jokinen and into the net. Shortly after, Jamie Langenbrunner potted his sixth of the year as Mark Giordano's holding penalty expired. The Flames answered back a power play tally of their own. Tom Kostopoulos tipped a Rene Bourque point shot, earning his sixth goal of the campaign.

The Flames forged ahead once again in the third thanks to some unlikely sources. Blueliner Cory Sarich beat Kari Lehtonen top shelf at 2:35 and then Steve Staios scored a shorthanded marker at 4:47.

After a push back from the Stars in the second period, the Flames knew they needed to come out flying in the final frame. Mission accomplished.

Calgary was relentless in its forecheck, had excellent puck control in all three zones, and every single player was committed to climbing ahead of the Stars on the scoresheet. That dedication was shown through two improbable sources. Sarich and Staios scored their third and second goals of the season respectively, handing the Flames their second straight victory.

The Flames highlight of the night came from a player most would never guess would be one a two-game point streak let alone scoring clutch goals.

Staios earned his second goal of the season in dramatic fashion, rifling a shot from the faceoff cirle and beating Lehtonen far side while the Flames were on the penalty. The play developed thanks to hard work by Rene Bourque along the half-wall, battling through a Dallas defender to burst into the offensive zone and dish the puck off to Staios. The veteran defenceman came into the zone all alone and was given enough time and space to let a howitzer go.

Sarich isn't exactly known for his offensive prowess but he played a key role in the Flames victory, scoring the game winner at 2:35 of the third period.

The rugged blueliner had one of his best games of the season on Wednesday night. He was a game-high +3, registered one shot on net, one hit,  and two blocked shots in 16:30 of ice time.

Bourque needs two more goals to reach 100 in his career. Matt Stajan needs five more to hit the same milestone.

Miikka Kiprusoff needs 14 more wins to pass Mike Vernon (262) for 1st on the all-time wins list for the Flames.

Jay Bouwmeester played in his 484 consecutive game, making him the NHL's leading ironman.

"I think everybody is getting an opportunity to chip in and guys are taking advantage of it. Just the confidence ... when I first got here, if we were in a game like that, everybody's head would have been down and we would have accepted the loss. It seems like now everyone is confident late in the game, when we're down a goal, that we can come back and win it." - Kostopoulos

Sunday, Feb.20  vs. Montreal
  4:00 PM MT (CBC, FAN 960)

After months of preparation, McMahon Stadium has been transformed to house the battle between the Calgary Flames and Montreal Canadiens. The Heritage Classic is the second game of a two-game season series. The Habs bested the Flames in Montreal earlier this year in overtime, winning 5-4.

Game time is 4:00 PM MT on CBC and The FAN 960.
16 Shots on goal for the Flames after the first period. By comparison, the Stars had three.
20 Assists for defenceman Anton Babchuk this season.
2 Game point streak for Staios. He had an assist in Denver on Monday.
13 Goals scored by the Flames in their last two outings.
10 Players with a point against the Stars.

1st Star
Cory Sarich
G A P +/- Shots
1 0 1 +3 1
2nd Star
Tom Kostopoulos
G A P +/- Shots
1 0 1 +1 3
3rd Star
Rene Bourque
G A P +/- Shots
0 2 2 0 2

Kari Lehtonen
31 27 4 58:42 .870

Miikka Kiprusoff
24 22 2 60:00 .916

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