CALGARY, AB – It wasn’t the start the Calgary Flames were hoping for.
With back-to-back games at Scotiabank Saddledome, the Flames were in a position to capitalize on a favourable schedule to start the season on home ice. After dropping their season-opener 4-1 to the San Jose Sharks Sunday and following it up with a 5-4 loss against the Anaheim Ducks Monday night, the Flames will look to regroup on the road.
They hope to do just that Wednesday against the Vancouver Canucks – last year’s President’s Trophy winner.
“We thought we had a good schedule to open, five of six at home, and it hasn’t gone the way we wanted, but we’ve just got to get back on track and play well in Vancouver,” said Lee Stempniak, who has scored in both Calgary losses.
“If you let it slip too long, it’ll slide away from you and you won’t be able to get back in the playoff picture,” he added.
The Flames have looked impressive – at times – in their opening two games.
Against the Sharks, Calgary fired 16 first period shots on goaltender Antti Niemi. Welcoming Anaheim, the Flames beat netminder Jonas Hiller three times in a span of 4:19.
But neither outburst resulted in points at the final horn and the Flames find themselves at 0-2-0 to start the season.
“We need to be sharper,” Jarome Iginla said. “Guys are working hard. Guys want to do the right things, but we’re making some mistakes. The consistency of going to the right position and being at the right spots isn’t there throughout our lineup. We’ve got to get sharper and tighter there.”
That makes Wednesday’s match-up against Vancouver even more critical, according to forward Curtis Glencross.
“The next game is going to be a big game for us,” said Glencross, who had two of Calgary’s goals Monday against Anaheim. “We can’t get behind the 8-ball too much here off the start of the season. It’s only a 48 game season and when you drop a couple of first ones you’re playing behind the 8-ball the rest of the year. We can’t afford that.”
Calgary won the season series against the Canucks last year, taking seven of a possible 12 points from Vancouver. The Canucks themselves haven’t gotten off to a desired start, either. Vancouver dropped a 7-3 decision to the Ducks in their home opener before losing 3-2 in a shootout to the Edmonton Oilers Sunday.
Calgary, who plays five of six at home to start the season, will hope to use the Canucks to get things back on track.
“There’s still plenty of time and keep going,” Iginla said. “Getting that first win will be important, for sure.”
And put some fresh jump into the start of the season for the Flames.
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