The Calgary Flames
have preached their season-long motto, "Every game matters."
With five games remaining, the anthem has never held truer for the 11th-place Flames. Calgary currently sits two points behind the Phoenix Coyotes
, the current residents of the eighth and final berth in the Western Conference's playoff picture.
But Calgary isn't looking at the big picture when it comes down to their final five games. With the Los Angeles Kings
in town -- another team they're trying to chase down -- the Flames are taking a day-by-day approach to extend their season.
"You just have to take it one day at a time," Matt Stajan
said. "Today's the game we're focused on. This is fun. We've got to win today to keep this going. We know where we're at. We put ourselves in this position."
Forgive the Flames if they sound like a broken record. The club has been preaching the motto for the last half-dozen games. It's been true throughout.
"The schedule is winding down and these games are massive with the standings situation," coach Brent Sutter
said. "Tonight now becomes the biggest game of the season. When it's over, the next one will."
Which makes every game a must, according to captain Jarome Iginla
"For us, we need to have this one," Iginla said. "We needed our last one. We go in with the same mindset. We play, we play hard, and we play confident.
"A lot of people have written us off, but from our point of view it's just about this game. If we get this one, a lot of pressure shifts to other teams and we just try to claw back in and keep going."
Winning Monday over the Dallas Stars
-- another opponent in reach -- to snap a five-game losing streak, Calgary hopes to build on a newfound momentum.
"You try to get your emotional level there every night," Stajan said. "It doesn't matter what point of the year you're at. You can't lose. You have to be ready to go this time of year."
Because if they're not, the Flames will find themselves further on the outs when it comes to the chase in the wild West.
Here's the projected lineup for the Flames:
- Michael Cammalleri
- Jarome Iginla
- Olli Jokinen
- David Moss
- Matt Stajan
- Blake Comeau
- Blair Jones
- Tim Jackman
- Jay Bouwmeester
- Scott Hannan
- Clay Wilson