CALGARY - With goals from role players like Curtis Glencross and goaltender Miikka Kiprusoff looking like his old self, the Calgary Flames are finally playing like contenders in the NHL's Western Conference.
Glencross's first goal in a Flames jersey broke a scoreless tie in the third period and Calgary won its fourth game in a row, 3-0 over the Colorado Avalanche.
The go-ahead marker was set up by hard work behind the Colorado net by Flames forwards Craig Conroy and David Moss. Moss ended up with the puck after a battle along the boards and whipped a backhand pass to Glencross, who one-timed a shot past Avalanche goaltender Peter Budaj.
"It's fun to get that first one, I've had a couple chances this year so far but haven't had the luck. It's nice to get that one and hopefully they'll come in bunches now," said Glencross, who signed with the Flames as a free agent in the summer.
Calgary coach Mike Keenan said that when a role player like Glencross gets a big goal like that, especially when it's his first goal, the team really feeds off it.
"When they are rewarded, you feel good for them, and the team embraces their efforts as well," Keenan said. "It really energized the team. It makes them feel great and makes the team very positive about their contribution."
Kiprusoff finished with 22 saves for his first shutout of the season and 27th of his career. Kiprusoff faced just two shots in the final 20 minutes en route to his 150th NHL victory.
"Two shots, that's unbelievable in a close game like that," Kiprusoff said. "We got the lead there and we were able to shut them down. Those are huge points for us."
Those two points gave Calgary 11 total, moving the Flames past Colorado into second place in the Northwest Division, two points back of Minnesota. The Flames are currently fifth in the Western Conference.
Three other Canadian teams were in action Tuesday. The soaring Montreal Canadiens needed a shootout to beat the Carolina Hurricanes. It was Carolina's first loss, in regulation or otherwise, in 10 games in Montreal since the 2004-05 NHL lockout.
The Toronto Maple Leafs were victimized by two dazzling goals from Vincent Lecavalier in a 3-2 loss to Tampa Bay. And Tim Thomas posted his second 1-0 win in as many nights as Boston blanked the Vancouver Canucks.
Elsewhere, it was: Philadelphia 7 Atlanta 0; Washington 4 Nashville 3 (SO) and San Jose 2 Pittsburgh 12.
At Calgary, off-season acquisitions Rene Bourque and Mike Cammalleri also scored for the Flames.
"We did want we wanted to, we got the puck behind their D-men and forced them and it finally worked out for us in the third getting two out of our three goals off the cycle," said Bourque.
Bourque and Cammalleri both each ended up with two points for Calgary (6-3-1).
"We're paying pretty good attention to detail right now," said Cammalleri, when asked to explain the team's turnaround over the past 10 days. "To a man, we're making a righteous effort to do the right thing out there and we're holding each other accountable."
Colorado (5-4-0) saw its five-game winning streak come to an end. The Avalanche had not lost since dropping a 5-4 decision to the Flames in Calgary on Oct. 14.
"They were real sharp on their forecheck and they played from behind our net and all three goals came from behind our goal-line," said Avalanche coach Tony Granato.
Bourque's insurance goal at 12:58 came when he faked going behind the net, then reached back and tucked the puck inside the near post.
Cammalleri rounded out the scoring, one-timing Bourque's centring pass.
"They stuck to their game plan and in the third it paid off for them," said Colorado centre Ian Laperriere. "They played hard, they played good defensively, and they didn't cheat on the offensive zone to get goals. That third and fourth line took it to us and pretty much beat us."
Canadiens 3 Hurricanes 2 (SO)
At Montreal, Saku Koivu scored a shootout goal and Carey Price stopped all three shots in the tiebreaker to lift the Canadiens past Carolina.
Lightning 3 Maple Leafs 2
At Toronto, Vincent Lecavalier scored a pair of highlight-reel goals and Mike Smith made 37 saves to lead Tampa Bay over the Maple Leafs.
Bruins 1 Canucks 0
At Vancouver, Tim Thomas made 30 saves for his second 1-0 win in two nights, leading Boston over the Canucks.
Flyers 7 Thrashers 0
At Atlanta, Mike Knuble, Simon Gagne and Joffrey Lupul each scored two goals and Philadelphia earned its 11th straight win over the Thrashers.
Capitals 4 Predators 3 (SO)
At Washington, Michael Nylander scored the pivotal goal in a shootout, and the Capitals generated enough firepower to overcome the absence of Alex Ovechkin and beat Nashville.
Sharks 2 Penguins 1
At San Jose, Calif., Joe Pavelski scored an early short-handed goal, Evgeni Nabokov made 10 saves, and the Sharks stayed perfect at home, beating Pittsburgh.