Flames victorious at Heritage Classic

Calgary Flames' Rene Bourque celebrates his goal on the Montreal Canadiens with Olli Jokinen, Mark...

Calgary Flames' Rene Bourque celebrates his goal on the Montreal Canadiens with Olli Jokinen, Mark Giordano and Jarome Iginla. (REUTERS/Todd Korol)

RANDY SPORTAK, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 10:36 PM ET

Rene Bourque knows cold-weather hockey.

Want proof? His hometown of Lac La Biche is a three-hour drive northeast from Edmonton. Imagine the chill you’d experience on the outdoor rink in that part of Alberta.

It makes sense Bourque was the standout at the Heritage Classic, scoring twice for the Calgary Flames in their 4-0 victory over the Montreal Canadiens in the outdoor clash before 41,022 at McMahon Stadium.

Bourque, the left winger whose offensive struggles became one of the few negative stories during his team’s run from obscurity into playoff contention, had his first multi-goal game since Oct. 24.

Bourque had a red-hot start to the season and was a major reason the Flames won six of their first nine games, but he had struggled since the opening month.

Going into the Heritage Classic, he had just two goals in the previous 14 outings.

He put those troubles in the rear-view mirror in a big way to make the marquee game a Flames party in every way possible.

With the win, the Flames (31-22-8) climbed to sixth spot in the Western Conference. Calgary — which is on a 17-4-5 run — is tied for fifth with Nashville, but the Predators have two games in hand.

Bourque, with just four goals in 28 games, opened the scoring eight minutes into the affair on a five-on-three powerplay.

With Montreal defencemen P.K. Subban and Hal Gill in the sin bin, Bourque was parked in front of the net and redirected Alex Tanguay’s pass.

He made it 3-0 just a couple of minutes after Anton Babchuk’s shorthanded goal midway through the second period, with what may have been the best play of the game.

Bourque managed to get the handle on the bouncing while going down the left wing, cut to the net and then tucked a backhand through the legs of Montreal goalie Carey Price.

It was Bourque’s 100th NHL career goal.

Alex Tanguay capped the scoring for the hosts with another powerplay goal midway through the third period.

From that point, it was just a question of the Flames holding on for victory while the temperature dipped from the -8.6C at puck drop.

In the end, Flames goalie Miikka Kiprusoff recorded his fourth shutout of the season and first since Nov. 29.

Was it a classic? Not really.

The calibre of play was more akin to the level you see on ESPN Classic.

Because of the ice conditions — affected by the cold weather — the puck was bouncing so much, you’d swear Vesa Toskala should be in one of the nets. Therefore, the pace appeared slower than usual.

Still, that wouldn’t diminish the result for the Flames, who have continued their climb from the depths of the league.

On the other side of the equation, the Canadiens (31-22-7) now have just one win in seven games.

The Flames are back in action Tuesday night at the Saddledome against the Boston Bruins.

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