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ALL ABOUT CONFIDENCE

Flames look to avoid two losses in a row when they take on the Predators

by TY PILSON @typilson / calgaryflames.com

As Mark Giordano walked past a group of Calgary media outside the Flames dressing room at the Bridgestone Arena in Nashville Wednesday following the morning skate, he quickly said "6-5" as he went by without breaking stride.

The group of journalists had been discussing what happened the last time the Flames took to the ice in Tennessee against the Predators and the captain overheard.

It was just over a month ago, back on Feb. 21, when the two clubs played one of the wildest, edge-of-your-seat games of this NHL season.

Calgary had jumped out to a sizeable 4-1 lead in the second period when the homeside rattled off four-straight goals of their own to take a 5-4 lead into the third period.

Mikael Backlund tied the game up in the final frame and just 46 seconds into overtime, it was Giordano who played the hero with the game-winner.

His perfectly timed drive-by delivery of the final score Wednesday showed the captain was still in good spirits despite his club's 4-2 loss to the Washington Capitals Tuesday night.

Perhaps it was the talk of that victory in the Music City which began Calgary's franchise-tying 10-game win streak.

Or the confidence that came with it.

"I think that was the one that got us going, right, on that streak," Giordano said later. "It was important, I think. You don't want to get into too many 6-5 games but the way it played out, I think, just for our confidence, it built that belief in our group. It was a huge win."

The Flames will face the Predators tonight (6 p.m., SportsnetFlames, SN960) and look to avoid suffering back-to-back losses for the first time since a three-game losing skid when they fell to Edmonton, Toronto and Montreal from Jan. 21-23.

Since that time, through three defeats and one overtime loss, they have always bounced back with a W the next time out.  

"The good teams, they find ways to get points down the stretch," said Giordano of his team's impressive resiliency of late. "They don't lose two in a row too often."

So what's the magic formula for being able to avoid that pitfall?

"I think they believe in the way they play and I think they have a real strong belief that they have to play this way to have success and when you have all the guys on board it makes it a lot easier to bounce back," said coach Glen Gulutzan. "You can certainly recognize reasons why you lost. You recognize those quite easily when you have a good foundation. And that foundation is easy to get back to and I think that's what's lead to some success."

Quite simply, th current version of the Flames has become infused with poise and determination.

"That's been something important for us," said Johnny Gaudreau, of the no two-losses-in-a-row. "In the past I think last season we'd end up losing a game, you know, we didn't find a way to win the next game which is really important. So this season that's what we've been doing and it's been huge because it's got us to the spot we're at today."

"I think it's a mindset, you have to be mentally strong in this league, especially at this time of year," echoed his linemate Sean Monahan. "We've got some guys who are stepping up right now and when you follow that everyone seems to tag along. So right now we're a good group and we're playing as a team."

And that gives Gulutzan the confidence that his club can come out Thursday night and see history repeat itself.

"The guys have done a great job of getting refocused and re-energized and back at it," said Gulutzan. "This is a big four-point game against somebody we're battling with to get a playoff spot and I expect another hard contested game."

The Flames, sitting in the first Western Conference wildcard spot Wednesday, certainly have their work cut out for them, facing a Preds team just three points behind them in the standings and sitting in the No.-2 wildcard berth.

"It's really important," said Giordano of the matchup. "It's a team that, again, we're all around each other in the standings. These next two games are huge. We did some good things last game, we weren't at our best but I still think we were right there right until the end of the game. Now it's important to clean it up a bit, bring our compete level up a bit and get two points tomorrow. It's a big one for us."

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