Gift-in-kind for ex-Oiler

RANDY SPORTAK, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 10:02 AM ET

Curtis Glencross called in a couple of favours Saturday afternoon.

His buddies in Edmonton came through.

Glencross rang up Tom Gilbert and Kyle Brodziak and made a plea.

"Yeah, I said 'Boys, come on, get your act together and go,' " Glencross said of his conversation with his former teammates.

Thanks to Edmonton's win over the Vancouver Canucks later Saturday night, Glencross and the Flames are back in control of their destiny in regards to the Northwest Division title.

Wins tonight against Los Angeles and tomorrow in Vancouver against the Canucks would put the Flames no more than one victory away from the division title and the No.-3 seed that comes with it when the playoffs begin.

Plus, Calgary has the edge in the first tiebreaker: Wins.

You bet news Edmonton won was a boost for the beleaguered Flames.

"Oh sure, it's a mental refresher. You're still in control," head coach Mike Keenan said. "Basically, I think it's going to come down to that game Tuesday."

True, but likely only if the Flames beat the Kings first.

If Calgary loses tonight, and blows its game against the Kings, the climb will be bigger. Still, it's about thinking positive these days.

And then making the most of the opportunities.

"Any time you can have a team do that, it's a good thing," Glencross said of the Edmonton victory. "At the same time, it's in our hands anyway. We have to go play our game, and if we don't play how we can, it doesn't matter.

"There's a lot of desperate teams right now, so you have to be ready to play."

It remains to be seen who'll be playing tonight for the Flames.

Because of the club's close proximity to the salary cap, and all the injuries -- eight players were out last game -- the Flames had only 16 skaters last game, two below the limit.

The good news is defenceman Adrian Aucoin took part in yesterday's practice and looks like he'll return.

"If things go well, I think he'll be fine to play," Keenan said.

But that appears to be the only help on the immediate horizon.

Defencemen Robyn Regehr (lower body, believed to be a knee), Cory Sarich (lower body, foot or ankle) didn't practise yesterday. Fellow blueliner Mark Giordano (shoulder) is not even skating yet, and Rhett Warrener (shoulder) isn't going to receive medical clearance soon.

Forwards Rene Bourque (ankle) and Andre Roy (hand) skated before their teammates, so they're not about to return, while C Wayne Primeau (foot) is likely done until next season.

That means the Flames will dress one or both of rookie defencemen Matt Pelech and John Negrin, although one may be sent down to the minors to call up a forward.

Either way, it appears the Flames may play with only 17 skaters the rest of the season.

"We're aware of it and we're preparing ourselves to get through this week with the situation," Keenan said.

At least the Flames have had time to digest the situation and the experience of playing through it. In Minnesota, they were admittedly too passive in the early going, which was costly in the 4-0 defeat.

"Sure, you've got guys injured and banged up, but every team does," Glencross said. "You can't use it as an excuse all the time. You've got to go out and do your thing."

For starters, motivation shouldn't be an issue.

"It's almost like a mini playoff before the playoffs," captain Jarome Iginla said. "We're tied with Vancouver. Both teams have it within their control, and it's going to be who takes it. I'm looking forward to it. I know our guys are.

"There's a lot of things that are positive, and it's going to be a fun week."

Finding a few goals would help. Make that finding a lot of goals.

The Flames are in a horrible offensive slump, having scored only six goals in the last six games -- shut out three times -- and their top guys have been silent.

"It's been a tough stretch, but we feel like we're on the way up and we're about ready to break out here," Iginla said.


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