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Flames beat Islanders for sixth straight home win

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The Canadian Press
1/9/2009 1:52:36 AM
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CALGARY - Daymond Langkow's on a roll. and so are the Calgary Flames.

Langkow scored his 15th goal and added two assists Thursday night to lead the Calgary Flames to a 5-2 victory over the struggling New York Islanders.

Just 55 seconds after Jeff Tambellini's late second period goal had drawn the Islanders even at 2-2, Langkow put the Flames back in front for good.

On the game-winner, Rene Bourque weaved his way up the ice and into the Islanders end before sending a pass across to Langkow who put a shot just inside the goal post behind Joey MacDonald.

''Right after they score to come back and get one like that, that was huge,'' said Bourque. ''We were on our heels for a little bit and to steal the momentum right back like that. We really took over after that''.

Tambellini said his team should have done better to fight back after Langkow's goal.

''It's tough to give that goal up but you have to find a way to get it back. You can't let that ruin our night,'' said Tambellini.

Langkow has scored in four consecutive games and has amassed six goals and six assists over a seven-game points streak.

''Langks has obviously been on a tear and it's not lucky, it's not fortunate, he's a good hockey player,'' said Cammalleri, who had a goal and an assist. ''He's making a lot of very good plays right now and that's why the puck's going in for him.''

Bourque, Curtis Glencross, and Adam Pardy with his first NHL goal also scored for Calgary (25-12-4). The Flames have reeled off six straight wins on home ice and thanks to a 9-1-1 stretch overall have opened up a five-point lead atop the Northwest Division over the Vancouver Canucks.

''We obviously struggled a little bit at the start of the year but we changed some things and everyone has bought in and we've gotten better as the season's progressed,'' said Langkow.

Trevor Smith, with his first NHL goal, also scored for New York (12-26-4). The Islanders, who failed to pick up a point on their four-game road trip, are now winless in their last 14 games away from home (0-13-1).

''No one likes to lose this many on the road. We have to find a way not just to be close in games, but to grit it out and find a way to get two points,'' Tambellini said.

Two days after knocking off the NHL's best team, a 5-2 victory over San Jose, the Flames hooked up with the team at the bottom of the standings.

Leading 3-2 headed to the third, Glencross made it a two-goal lead at 2:52 and the Flames put the game away on Pardy's first NHL goal at 7:25.

''Coming off the big win Tuesday night against San Jose and coming out tonight, we wanted to keep improving and keep those good habits,'' said Pardy.

The Flames improved to 15-4-3 at the Pengrowth Saddledome.

''We want it to be tough for teams to come in here and try and take two points from us,'' said Pardy. ''You look at our schedule down the stretch, we're going to be on the road a lot, right now it's important that we get these points and separate ourselves in the division''.

In his 12th straight start, Miikka Kiprusoff made 24 saves to win his league-best 25th game (25-11-3). The NHL's busiest goaltender, Kiprusoff has started all but two games.

MacDonald was much busier finishing the night with 36 saves to fall to 11-21-4.

''Our team had a lot of mental errors which we haven't seen to the extent we saw them tonight,'' said Islanders coach Scott Gordon.

   A surprise line-up change for the Flames was the insertion of Mikael Backlund, who played for Sweden in their 5-1 loss to Canada in the final of the world junior hockey championships Monday.

Backlund was in Calgary waiting for Flames General Manager Darryl Sutter to decide where in North America he was going to play out the rest of the season - either the Flames' minor league affiliate in Quad Cities or Kelowna of the Western Hockey League.

Instead, Backlund's first North American appearance comes at the NHL level as he took the place of Todd Bertuzzi, who did not play due to a lower body injury.

In just over 10 minutes of ice time, Backlund registered one shot on goal and did not look out of place seeing some time on the power-play as well.

Notes: Islanders G Rick DiPietro was again not in uniform due to a swollen knee. He will be re-evaluated Friday in Long Island. Yann Danis was recalled from Bridgeport (AHL) to back up MacDonald. Martinek (shoulder) was back in the Islanders line-up after missing 17 games. Backlund wore No. 60, the first time anyone has worn that number for the Flames in a regular season game. Calgary's last win at home versus the Islanders had been Nov. 23, 1999. New York had won the last two meetings at the Pengrowth Saddledome. The Islanders are still away from the team record for road winless streak of 20 games set in their expansion year in 1972-73. 

Flames celebrate (Photo: The Canadian Press)

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(Photo: The Canadian Press)
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