Twice as nice

RANDY SPORTAK -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 9:42 AM ET

Turns out you don't need to be in La La Land for dreams to come true.

For Craig Conroy, the kind of days that make for a feel-good motion picture take place in the Stampede City.

He couldn't have written a better screenplay than scoring a pair of goals in a 4-1 win over the Los Angeles Kings in his Calgary Flames return engagement.

"It was a Hollywood script for me," he said with trademark unbridled enthusiasm. "I remember the last game I played here, a lot of disappointment after Game 6 (of the 2004 Cup final, an overtime loss), so to be able to come back, get a win and that reception, it feels like I never left."

Certainly the sellout gathering of 19,289 at the Saddledome let him know they were happy to see him again.

Every time the fan favourite -- who returned via trade with the Kings the day before -- hit the ice, was shown on the big screen or touched the puck, the building buzzed.

All that emotion finally exploded when Conroy broke the scoreless tie early in the second period, his first goal since a Dec. 29 game against Calgary at the 'Dome. It was replicated when he rounded out the scoring.

The reception wasn't lost on Conroy.

"It gave me goose bumps," he said. "Each time I scored I was just taking it all in. I haven't had that much emotion in the games for a long time."

You can bet his teammates would love more of the same, especially if Conroy has to take the role of top-line centre after Daymond Langkow left the game in the third period with an unspecified injury.

"We'll take the rest of the season like that ... and playoff games, as well," said Robyn Regehr. "I think he's pretty happy and we're happy to have him back."

Even head coach Jim Playfair was touched by the sentiment.

"I'm proud of Connie," he said. "To come back and play with the amount of emotion that was involved in the game, back in the playoff hunt against his former teammates in a friendly building and I think he played well.

"I think the change was refreshing or him. I think he was ready to work hard. Confidence is a funny thing and you can see it all over his face right now."

David Moss and Stephane Yelle also scored for Calgary.

The win, their sixth straight and 20th of the year at home, improved the Flames record to 27-17-6.

The night didn't only belong to Conroy, though.

Goaltender Miikka Kiprusoff was as much a difference maker, even if the scoreboard was one-sided at the final buzzer.

That was especially the case in the middle of the third when the Flames held a one-goal lead thanks to five saves by Kiprusoff during a Kings' two-man advantage lasting 89 seconds.

Mike Cammalleri replied for the Kings, who fell to 17-30-6 and sit last in the Western Conference.

The Flames continue their homestand Friday when the Columbus Blue Jackets visit.


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