Cory Sarich believes in the old football adage of acting like you've been there before.

So he scored the game-winning goal in a crucial 4-2 Calgary Flames victory over the Dallas Stars? So his wobbler of a snapshot — a change-up, according to Mark Giordano — fluttered top corner over Kari Lehtonen to seal the win?

Ho hum. Another day at the office.

Or not.

"Feels good," the stay-at-home defenceman said with a wry grin. "I've had a couple before in my career."

More than a couple actually, Sarich only has 18 goals in his entire National Hockey League career, but six of them are game-winners.

"They don't come very often," Sarich said. "Nice when it happens.

"Nice to chip in again."

He's not the only blue-collar brute to chip in. Grinding Tom Kostopoulos tied the game midway through the second period with a tip of a Rene Bourque shot. Steve Staios, of all people, added a short-handed insurance marker at 4:47 of the third period — just over two minutes after Sarich hit the back of the net — to nail down the two points.

Wait a minute. Weren't these guys supposed to be on the bubble? Didn't reporters shake their heads last summer when the two defenceman represented the Flames at the Heritage Classic news conference? After all, both were thought to be in danger of demotion to the minors as casualties of the salary cap.

Strange times indeed for the red-hot Flames. Written off for dead before Christmas, the local heroes vault into a five-way (!) tie for fourth place in the Western Conference with Anaheim, Nashville, San Jose and the free-falling Dallas Stars.