Fans loving this Rene-gade

STEVE MACFARLANE, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 9:28 AM ET

In the moments after the game before the media got to Rene Bourque, a suited Curtis Glencross congratulated his road roommate on his first NHL hat-trick.

"He just said, 'Stay hot for when he gets back,' " said Bourque, recalling the words of his currently injured teammate.

His three goals in Saturday night's 6-3 win over the visiting Ottawa Senators gives Bourque 14 on the season -- his first with the Flames -- and nine more than Glencross. They're similar players. Gritty, quick and relentless. Joining the Flames at the same time, they also had similar goals. Among them, becoming 20-goal-scorers.

As great an addition as Glencross has been with five goals and 19 points in 30 games before a knee injury forced him to the sidelines, he's running a little behind his pal.

"I thought if I came in and had 20, that'd be a pretty good season," said Bourque, a smile creeping across his face.

"But now, maybe we'll bump that up a little bit.

"There's still a lot of season left. Who knows what can happen?"

After Saturday's display, the sky's the limit. Who knows what awaits the Minnesota Wild, tonight's visitors to the Saddledome (7 p.m.).

In front of his family members who stuck around after spending Christmas together in Calgary, Bourque gave the Flames a clean slate after they fell behind 2-0 to the Sens in Saturday night's second period.

First, Bourque found room on a wraparound.

Then, he pounced on a turnover and wristed a seeing-eye shot in off a defender and into the top corner.

He almost had the natural hat-trick but missed one opportunity wide and had another slapshot labelled for the five-hole denied by Sens goaltender Alex Auld.

He made good later on a nifty give-and-go with Daymond Langkow to make it a 5-3 game with time running out. Then he headed home to celebrate.

"I had a full house," said Bourque, noting it was his mother's birthday, to boot.

"We kind of all just hung out together. It was a good birthday present for her."

His play this season has been a gift for the Flames.

Bourque and Glencross lead the team's forwards in hits, and they're right up there in blocked shots.

Animals on the ice, it's a different story when the pair unlace the skates.

"It seems like we're both pretty much the same kind of guys," Glencross said.

"We both like our TV time when we get on the road, and we like going out for dinner.

"He's quiet, he's pretty subtle. Once you get to know him a little more, he opens up."

On the ice, Bourque finds openings.

Using his speed to work his way past defenders, Bourque has racked up eight goals and 10 points in his last 10 games.

He's on pace to shatter his best NHL numbers, set as a rookie with the Chicago Blackhawks in 2005-06 when he collected 16 goals and 18 assists for 34 points.

That's the last season he was healthy for almost an entire schedule. He's played through bumps and bruises but is otherwise in fine form.

"Right now, I'm healthy and having fun, so it's good," Bourque said. "I haven't felt this good in a few years."


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