SUN Hockey Pool

Stajan the sniper nets winner

Carolina Hurricanes' Joni Pitkanen goes flying into the players bench after getting hit bit Calgary...

Carolina Hurricanes' Joni Pitkanen goes flying into the players bench after getting hit bit Calgary Flames' Mark Giordano. (REUTERS/Todd Korol)

RANDY SPORTAK, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 8:27 AM ET

CALGARY — Matt Stajan's hands were expected to mainly be used setting up Jarome Iginla.

The Calgary Flames are thankful it works the other way, too.

Stajan, one of the six new faces acquired this week to save the struggling club's season, came through when his new team needed it most in Wednesday night’s 4-1 victory over the Carolina Hurricanes.

Stajan — one of the four former Toronto Maple Leafs acquired in the Dion Phaneuf trade — scored off a feed from Iginla to break the deadlock and spark the club to just its second win in 12 outings.

“It’s nice to get that one. I know for all the new guys here, we’re trying to get comfortable, but we’re all going to do a job here and give it our all,” he said.

All of the fresh faces acquired this week played a part in the win before the sold out Saddledome crowd of 19,289.

Moreover, they gave the Calgary faithful something to cheer about, as opposed to Monday night’s 3-0 stinker of a loss to Philadelphia in which Stajan, Niklas Hagman, Jamal Mayers and Ian White introduced themselves but left the ice to a chorus of boos.

“I felt like I was in Toronto still after the first one,” Stajan said. “Monday, we didn’t play well. No excuses. We responded tonight, and we’ve got to build off that.”

The additions, which included Ales Kotalik and Christopher Higgins playing their first game for the Flames after coming from the New York Rangers, were meant to provide the Flames with more scoring depth.

It went all the way to the fourth line.

Curtis Glencross, skating mainly on the No.-4 unit with Eric Nystrom and Mayers, showed what it means to have four lines which can provide offence.

Glencross netted his first NHL hat-trick.

“There are six or seven new faces in here. We’re all battling for spots right now,” Glencross said. “It’s competitive right now. If every line plays like that, it’s pretty easy for the coaching staff.”

The Flames (28-21-8) climb back to eighth in the Western Conference.

The end result is a step forward but shouldn’t be taken as a sign the club is out of the woods.

The two victories compiled during this disappointing run have come at the expense of a Hurricanes team sitting 29th in the NHL and the 30th-place Edmonton Oilers.

And it’s not like Calgary looked like world beaters while beating the ’Canes.

Part of that can be attributed to all the fresh faces, but the club still doesn’t look quite right and hasn’t shaken off nearly enough bad habits.

After staking themselves to a 1-0 lead, the Flames failed to take advantage of a ’Canes team which is already a lame-duck club in the playoff chase and opted to sit on the lead.

It didn’t help they took a bunch of infractions, which added up to nine Carolina powerplays, all in the first two periods.

After Eric Staal tied the game, though, Calgary pulled away for good.

“There’s no easy team to play against in this league,” Kotalik maintained. “We lost to that team in New York last week 5-1. I think we did a good job. We had jump in the first period, and when we got ahead, we did a good job to finish them.”

Flames goalie Miikka Kiprusoff stopped 27 shots. Cam Ward made 35 save for Carolina (19-30-7).

The Flames begin a three-game road trip Friday night in Florida, before heading to Tampa Bay and then Ottawa.


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