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Glencross gets 3 as Flames top 'Canes 4-1

by John Kreiser
After two trades in two days, the Calgary Flames came together pretty quickly on Wednesday night. Curtis Glencross recorded his first NHL hat trick to lead the Flames to a 4-1 win over the Carolina Hurricanes at the Pengrowth Saddledome.

"It's something I'll never forget," said Glencross, who now has 14 goals this season. "It's nice to get that feeling again."

The Flames acquired four players from Toronto on Sunday in a deal that sent defenseman Dion Phaneuf to the Leafs. Following Monday's listless 3-0 home loss to Philadelphia, they sent center Olli Jokinen and forward Brandon Prust to the Rangers for forwards Christopher Higgins and Ales Kotalik.

The new-look Flames did the job against the Eastern Conference cellar-dwellers. One of the newcomers, center Matt Stajan, had the game-winning goal in the second period as the Flames improved to 28-21-8.

Coach Brent Sutter liked what he saw from his remodeled team.

"I thought we did a real good job on how we wanted to forecheck," Sutter said. "Our forecheck was better. We tweaked a few things. There are some things you can do differently with more speed. When you've got more speed and a couple of big guys like Higgins and Ales, it's important to let them go play their game.

"Overall, as a team, it was a solid effort."  

Miikka Kiprusoff stopped 27 of 28 shots, allowing only a goal by Carolina captain Eric Staal as the 'Canes dropped their second in a row after winning four straight.

"They were good," Carolina coach Paul Maurice said. "Calgary was good. We can't moan about how poorly we played. They played a good game -- they were hard, fast and disciplined in terms of their positioning, and they were physical. They were just that much better."

The Flames started out with the kind of jump that was missing on Monday night.  

Following a strong shift by center Daymond Langkow between Higgins and Kotalik, the checking line of Eric Nystrom, Glencross and ex-Leaf Jamal Mayers continued to hem the Hurricanes in their own zone. That pressure paid off as Glencross drove hard towards the net in pursuit of a rebound when the puck deflected off his body and into the net behind Cam Ward at 2:54.

"They came out hard. They were aggressive," Staal said. "They were obviously in a little bit of a storm here, for a while, but they came out aggressive. They had the jump on us."

The Hurricanes tied the game at 7:19 of the second period when Staal deflected a shot by Jussi Jokinen past Kiprusoff on a Carolina power play. But with the teams playing 4-on-4, Stajan and Glencross scored goals 52 seconds apart late in the period to put Calgary ahead to stay.

While cutting towards the Carolina net on right side, Stajan kicked a pass from Jarome Iginla onto his stick before tucking the puck into the far corner at 16:43.

"It's a weight off my shoulders getting that first one," said Stajan, who played his second game as a Flame since coming over from Toronto. "Just like the start of the season, you want to get that first one out of the way. More importantly we played a good team game."

Glencross then took a cross-ice pass from Jay Bouwmeester and blasted a slap shot to the short side past Ward at 17:35.

Glencross completed his hat trick by scoring with 1:02 left in the game. His task now, according to Sutter, is to keep up his level of play for the rest of the season.

"Do we expect Curtis to score three goals every night? No," Sutter said. "But we do expect him to play a certain way. That's what we need from him for the remainder of the season -- we need for him to dig in for us. He can skate, but he's got to be involved in the game. When he's involved in the game, he plays the right way and he's very responsible defensively."

Material from team media and wire services was used in this report.

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