SUN Hockey Pool

Flames show spark against Devils

RANDY SPORTAK, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 11:23 AM ET

CALGARY — It may be hard to believe beating the New Jersey Devils holds no extra significance to Brent Sutter.

Then again, the way things have gone lately for Calgary Flames, it’s not impossible to imagine the head coach couldn’t care less who fell victim to his squad in Friday night’s 5-3 victory. As long as it happened.

“Tonight’s game was a game we needed to play well to have success,” said Sutter, who spent the last two seasons guiding the Devils before resigning and eventually become the Flames bench boss. “I know better than anyone what type of team they have, they’re a very good hockey team, and if you want to have success against them you’ve got to battle and compete against them.”

The Flames did battle.

They did compete.

Lo and behold, it added up to an offensive explosion for the team which was tied for the second-worst offensive attack heading into the affair — ahead of only the Boston Bruins.

A shorthanded breakaway goal by Curtis Glencross was the go-ahead tally which sent the Flames off to victory, but the other four were the kind of markers we haven’t seen enough of from this team lately.

They were direct results of going hard to the net either with the puck or for a rebound and getting dirty. A couple of them were efforts which saw them make good of second chances.

“There are a lot of goals scored like that in the NHL,” Sutter said. “You want to get in those areas and good things will happen.”

When Daymond Langkow snapped a 21-game scoring drought early in the second period, it not only erased a deficit, but sent the Flames off and running. After all, they’d gone 107 minutes and 45 seconds without a goal.

Glencross was first to take advantage of the suddenly opened floodgates, stripping the puck from Ilya Kovalchuk at his team’s blueline and then snapping a glove-side shot past Devils netminder Martin Brodeur.

“I knew he’s kind of a fancy kind of player and he was gonna try and go around me, and I just got a stick on it,” Glencross said of stealing the puck. “I was kind of surprised, I thought the other D was closer to me.”

Eric Nystrom capped a three-goal second period, and then Matt Stajan and David Moss scored 33 seconds apart midway through the third period to make it a 5-1 contest to the shock and awe of the Saddledome sellout crowd of 19,289.

“I want to be part of the solution here and not part of the problem,” Nystrom said. “We need to chip in if this team wants to be successful. Every line chipped in a goal, and you’re not going to lose too many games when that happens.”

Zach Parise’s second of the night followed by a Kovalchuk late in the third period made for some tense moments, but didn’t spoil the joy of breaking out offensively and garnering a win.

“We were behind them after the first and knew we had to push back. We used our chances well. It was nice,” said Flames netminder Miikka Kiprusoff.

The only downfall for the win which improves Calgary record to 31-24-9 is the fact the team remains outside a playoff spot in the Western Conference.

The Detroit Red Wings remain one point up on Calgary for eighth place.

The last time Calgary scored more than three times against a playoff squad was a 5-0 victory over Nashville on Nov. 30.

The win also marks just the second time in 39 games the Flames won after surrendering more than one goal.

The night also marked Kiprusoff’s first career victory over the Devils, which means he’s finally beat all 30 NHL squads.

“Wow. Took eight years. About time,” he said.

Calgary next embarks on a two-game road trip with games Sunday in Minnesota and Tuesday at Detroit.

randy.sportak@sunmedia.ca


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