The flame burns and the streak lives for hockey's iron man, Garry Unger.

Suddenly, just in time to run his recrod-by-a-mile consecutive game streak to 884 last night at Quebec, Unger is a center man for the Atlanta Flames.

He can "fit right into what we're trying to do on offense and can really make a difference for us, maybe right away," said Atlanta GM Cliff Fletcher. Why not, with 377 goals (No. 17 on NHL's all time list) and 352 assists in 893 games? And he'd better: for signing Unger. 31, to a reported five-year, $1 million contract, the Flames compensated St. Louis, for whom he played 8 1/2 years, by sending the Blues defenseman Ed Kea, center Red Laurence and a future . . . .

But wave adieu to Yvan Cournoyer, 16-year right wing (428 goals, 435 assists in 969 regular season games) of the Montreal Canadiens.Captain of the Habs, 10-time Stanley Cup holders during his span, Cournoyer gave it the good last shot to come back from two major back operations in the past three seasons. He scored three goals in two preseason exhibitions but it hurt the little (5-7) guy, and Coach Boom Boom Geoffrion says, "I never forced him to play in any of the exhibition games and I told him when he was ready to let me know. "I think Van made a wise decision" . . . .

So, with Sweden's Bjorn Borg tennis' dominant male player, Sweden's Volvo company stepped forward yesterday to take the Colgate-abandoned men's Grand Prix tour under its wing for 1980, with options on 1981 and 1982. The multinational auto manufacturer will spend $1 million directly on the tour next year, plus and unannounced amount on promotion and advertising. And as for 1981-82, Volvo of America's chief executive Bjorn (aha!) Ahlstrom said in a New York press conference, "We have and escalator clause hinged to the ability of world leaders to control inflation." . . .

Such tennis sponsors as Avon Women's tour) are missing a great bet by not underwriting the women's pro bowling circuit, WPBA Commissioner Roger Blaemire wistfully (but forcefully) opined; meantime, Blaemire pulled out all the stops in a Washington press conference:

Patty Costello, two-time woman bowler of the year and Washington-area grown, at that. Edith Burrought, at 40 the first black to win a major pro bowling tournament (May 23, Rockford, Ill.). And Linday Woodruff, a tour rookie and reigning Miss Kentucky U.S.A. She doubles as WPBA's "roving ambassador."

All to let the capital area know that the WPBA national Championship is Oct. 28-Nov. 3, purse upward of $30,000, at Bowl America Shirley on Edsall Road in Alexandria. Starting with a proam in which locals get to roll with the likes of Costello -- sure-enough athlete to place fourth in last winter's Women Superstars -- while wondering, with Blaemire, what the tenpin troupe has to do to get regular exposure on TV, when ratings repeatedly show it sells. . . .

Quick fix: Air Force kicker Jim Sturch, we meant to say Wednesday, kicked a three-point success, not three successes, against Navy in running his streak to 11 of 11. . . .