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Flames Keep Playoff Hopes Alive


Calgary fans have high expectations of Valeri Bure, and he isn't letting them down thus far.

Bure scored both Calgary goals to keep the Flames in the final playoff spot with a 2-1 victory over the New York Islanders on Sunday.

With the score tied at 1-1, Bure banged a loose puck past goaltender Wade Flaherty 4:13 into the third period for his 21st goal of the season.

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  • "Everybody has really stepped it up," Bure said. "Theo was always our main man and you always tried to find him when you were on the ice but now everybody's looking for different guys."

    Bure, traded three weeks ago for Flames leading scorer Theo Fleury, has scored eight goals in nine games and has been instrumental in the Flames' 6-3-0 run. Five of those wins came on the road.

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    "We expect that out of him every game," said Calgary coach Brian Sutter. "He's been given a lot more opportunities since Theo's been gone and he's been taking advantage."

    The win was Calgary's sixth in their last eight games (6-2-0) and gave the Flames a two-point lead over the Edmonton Oilers for the eighth and final playoff spot in the Western Conference.

    Kenny Jonsson scored for the Islanders, which is 1-7-2 their last 10 games. Without leading scorer Robert Reichel, who was traded to the Phoenix Coyotes in one of three deals made by New York on Saturday, the Islanders mounted little offense.

    New York was outshot 34-12 in the game and managed just one shot in the third period.

    New York tied the game with 1:11 left in the second when Jonsson beat Ken Wregget with a wrist shot on a breakaway after stepping out of the penalty box.

    The win improves Wregget's record to 8-7-2.

    Bure opened the scoring at 19:29 of the first period when he crossed over the New York blue-line and fired a high wrist shot past the glove of Flaherty.

    "You're going to have to come up with a few saves here and there to eep your team in the game and that's a goaltender's job," said Flaherty. "You have to give credit to the Flames, they played really well defensively."

    Mats Lindgren made his Islander debut centering a line with Mariusz Czerkawski and Zigmund Palffy. Lindgren was acquired Saturday from Edmonton in a trade that sent Tommy Salo to the Oilers.

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