If the Calgary Flames are searching for inspiration, they need not look far.
Just up the road, in fact.
Preparing to square off against the Edmonton Oilers in a home-and-home series of the Battle of Alberta is all the inspiration Alex Tanguay needs.
"We know where they're at in the standings as well," he said. "We know points are important for them. For us, if you can't get up for the Battle of Alberta, can't get focused, I don't think you're doing the right thing by playing hockey."
Trailing the Oilers by five points in the standings, Bob Hartley doesn't need to communicate what is at stake between the two clubs.
"We have two big games in three nights right now against the Oilers and we know what they represent to us," he said. "It's just a matter of making sure that we come to play, we stay positive and we still have lots of work to do."
FIGHTING THROUGH DISTRACTIONS
In order to find success against the Oilers, Calgary will be forced to battle through distractions.
There are plenty in the next 48 hours with the trade deadline looming and the recent departure of captain Jarome Iginla.
It's the players' job to fight through, Tanguay admitted.
"You have to be professional about it," Tanguay said. "You want to make sure that when you get in game situation you do your best to help your team win. It's certainly difficult but it is what it is and we have to make sure we go about our business. We're still trying to win a few games in a row and see where we get from here."
Though they sit 14th in the West, Calgary remains within striking distance, seven points of the eighth and final playoff spot in the conference.
It's inspired optimism in Tanguay.
"I still hope that we can pull four or five together with everything and get ourselves back in," he said.
The Flames also hold games in hand over the majority of the six teams ahead of them. They can start to take advantage of that fact Monday in Edmonton against the Oilers. But regardless of who is at the other end of the sheet, the target remains the same for Cory Sarich.
"Every game right now is basically the same challenge," Hartley said. "On our side, we know that we have to put on quite a streak of wins to enter the playoffs.
"That's where we want to start tonight."
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