FLAMES READY FOR ‘DOME OPENER
Taking three of four points on a two game road trip to start the season, the Calgary Flames are riding a wave of momentum heading into Sunday’s home opener at Scotiabank Saddledome against the Vancouver Canucks.
The Flames shook off a 5-4 shootout loss against the Washington Capitals on Thursday to take two points from the Columbus Blue Jackets on Friday, building plenty of confidence through their Eastern Conference trip.
“That was huge for us to get that early confidence in two tough buildings,” said TJ Galiardi, who had a goal against the Blue Jackets. “We’re feeling pretty good and we’re ready for the home opener.”
“Confidence is huge,” Lance Bouma added. “It was a good road trip and now we’ve got to build off it.”
The first opportunity to build off the road success comes against the Canucks, who will be playing the back end of two games in two nights after hosting the Edmonton Oilers Saturday night.
“Everyone’s going to be pretty pumped up,” Galiardi said. “It’s no different than the first game in Washington, you’ve just got some more support. I don’t think I’m nervous, I’m just more excited and happy it’s finally here.”
WORKBOOTS ON EARLY
Though it’s a young season, the Flames feel like they’ve found their formula for success: Outwork the opposition.
“We talked about that before the year,” Galiardi said. “We don’t really have any quote, unquote superstars on our team. We need to bring the work boots every game.”
It’s a formula that has allowed Calgary to get off on the right foot to start the season, according to coach Bob Hartley.
“We understand we might not be the deepest team in talent, we don’t have a (Sidney) Crosby or an (Alexander) Ovechkin, but we’re a team, we’re a family,” Hartley said. “Right now, the guys are on the same page, they work hard and in the first two games, they got rewarded with three points out of four.
“For their confidence, for their mindset, it’s a big bonus. It’s a good sign.”
KEEPING AN EVEN KEEL
There’s no room for overconfidence, though.
But that won’t be a problem for Hartley’s team.
“I think Bob does a really good job of keeping us at that level-headed space,” Buoma said.
Hartley knows full well that keeping his team on an even keel falls under his responsibility.
“Don’t worry, don’t worry. That’s my job,” he said. “Everyone has their skates bolted to the ice. No one will be skating in the rafters.”
STAJAN REMAINS SIDELINED
Missing Friday’s game in Columbus, Matt Stajan’s status remains in doubt.
The centre will not, however, be available to Hartley against the Canucks.
“I don’t expect to see Staj for a little while,” Hartley said.
The bench boss admitted he wasn’t the best one to be asking about the medical status of his players after incorrectly predicting the timeline for Mike Cammalleri. Hartley originally predicted the forward would be back from his injury in time for Calgary’s season-opener against Washington on Thursday.
Instead, Cammalleri remains sidelined on the injured reserve list.
“Don’t trust me,” Hartley said. “I told you Cammy was two days and it’s been close to a month.”
The Flames have no plans on recalling a player from the Abbotsford Heat, Calgary’s American Hockey League affiliate, to fill Stajan’s spot.
“We have plenty of guys,” Hartley said. “The guys we have here, we’re very confident in them.”
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