Homestand now Subway series

Flames forwards Nigel Dawes and Rene Bourque celebrate after Dawes scored in the second period...

Flames forwards Nigel Dawes and Rene Bourque celebrate after Dawes scored in the second period Saturday vs. the Oilers. The pair has done its share of scoring so far this season. (Mike Drew, Sun Media)

RANDY SPORTAK

, Last Updated: 5:01 AM ET

The Flames are feasting on opposing goalies this season.

Their fans are enjoying the taste in more than one way.

A promotion this season with the Subway sandwich company earns an entire section of fans in the Saddledome a gift card when the Flames score five or more goals.

The Flames have given their faithful a lot of dough because of it.

"Oh really? That's good," Flames winger Nigel Dawes said with a happy smile immediately after the team's 5-2 win over the Edmonton Oilers Saturday night.

Calgary has hit the magic number three times in as many tries during their current five-game homestand and four times already this season in six games at the Saddledome.

But that's just part of the story when talking about how offensive this team has been.

Prior to last night's action, the Flames led the NHL with an average of four goals per game, having scored 40 times in 10 contests.

"Wasn't that supposed to be our knock this year, not able to score goals?" Dawes said.

"Every line is contributing at different times. The depth we have is key to it.

"We're still learning our defensive game, but when we play that way, you can see it in games where we take over."

Last year, the Flames were a top-10 team when it came to lighting the lamp with an average of 3.06 goals per game. They were behind only Detroit and Chicago among Western Conference squads.

The 'sky-is-falling' pundits said goals would be hard to come by because of the loss of Michael Cammalleri's 39 goals and -- as strange as it seems -- 15-goal scorer Todd Bertuzzi.

The scoring-by-committee approach is working.

Jarome Iginla (three goals), Daymond Langkow (two goals) and Olli Jokinen (one goal) aren't at the level expected, but pretty much everyone else has picked up more than their share of the slack.

Rene Bourque has five goals on the heels of a 21-goal season.

Dion Phaneuf has also scored five goals, which is nearly halfway to his total last season (11).

Plus you have players like Dawes, Curtis Glencross and Eric Nystrom -- with four goals each -- on their way to career seasons.

The only regulars yet to score are Craig Conroy and stay-at-home defencemen Robyn Regehr and Cory Sarich.

Head coach Brent Sutter said playing a better defensive game didn't have to come at a cost of offence.

By no means are the Flames at the level of expectations in the goal-against department with a 3.30 GAA so far, but they believe the pieces are falling into place.

They've allowed only two goals at even strength in the last four games. Seven have been scored on the powerplay -- three during five-on-threes -- and one shorthanded.

"He doesn't want to take away from our offence. He is strict and demands a lot defensively, but I think the best defensive teams get offensive chances off that play," Dawes said.

"Defensive play starts with the forecheck and getting the puck back in the neutral zone."

Now, scoring has become contagious.

"It's fun to score. You see it when we get one, our eyes open up and we get going," Dawes said.

"(Against Edmonton) we had three quick goals, and you could see the guys have more jump because everybody wants to contribute.

"I think it's going to continue for us throughout the season."

Fans will love the taste of that.

RANDY.SPORTAK@SUNMEDIA.CA


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