Flames 5 Oilers 3
EDMONTON — Curtis Glencross is making a strong bid for a top-six forward position with the Calgary Flames.
The 26-year-old Albertan scored twice as the Flames defeated the rival Edmonton Oilers 5-3 in NHL exhibition action Wednesday night.
Glencross and Olli Jokinen are tied for the Flames’ pre-season lead with seven points each.
“I’m trying to take the next step as a player,” he said. “A top-six position is where I want to be. I’ll take it one game at a time. If it is there, it is there. If it is not, it’s not. I just have to go out there and show what I can do.”
Glencross, who left the Oilers to sign as an unrestricted free agent prior to the 2008-2009 season, says it still means something to have a big game against his old club.
“It’s always nice coming back and showing something to a team that didn’t want me,” he said. “To come out and play pretty decently every time against them is rewarding.”
Jarome Iginla, Jason Jaffray and Fredrik Sjostrom also scored for the Flames, who improved to 3-2-1 in pre-season play.
Theo Fleury had one assist for the Flames as he continues his bid to try and land a spot on his old team after a six-year absence from the NHL.
“Things are going just as expected,” the 41-year-old Fleury said. “I’m just trying to get better every day. I think I have accomplished that so far. I’m just trying to play within the way the coaches want us to play.”
Dustin Penner, J.F. Jacques and Mike Comrie responded for the Oilers, who have lost three in a row to drop to 3-3 in exhibition play.
Oilers head coach Pat Quinn reserved much of his praise for a pair of his bigger players, particularly Penner and Jacques.
“The two big guys on the left, they played pretty well,” he said. “They were both something to contend with. They were the heavy part of the game. We are still light in some areas and don’t win those loose pucks too much. We’ve got to get better there.”
Calgary got off to a quick start, opening the scoring just 1:34 into the first period. Edmonton starting netminder Nikolai Khabibulin lost the handle trying to stop a puck behind the net and Glencross fished it out and fired it into the empty net.
Edmonton responded just three minutes later as a shot by Jason Strudwick caromed off the boards and right to Penner battling in front of the net for his second of the pre-season.
The Oilers took a 2-1 lead just shy of midway through the first. Jacques — playing on the first line with Ales Hemsky and Shawn Horcoff — continued to make a claim on a regular roster spot, taking a feed from Tom Gilbert and sending a hard shot from in tight on Calgary goalie Miikka Kiprusoff that somehow slipped past him.
Calgary evened the game up again two minutes later on a two-man advantage, as Iginla snapped a shot from the side of the net that beat Khabibulin between the legs.
The Oilers finally ended up getting a power-play early in the second but it ended up working against them as Glencross picked the puck away from Denis Grebeshkov at the point and blazed up ice to beat Khabibulin high to the glove-side, his fourth goal and seventh point of the pre-season.