FLAMES HIT THE ROAD
The Flames met at the Saddledome on Wednesday morning before heading to the airport to fly out to Los Angeles.
The optional skate saw only a handful of players on the ice while most of the others chose off-ice training.
The Flames will head to LA first where they will face the LA Kings in their second meeting of the season on Thursday night. The first going back to October 10th in Calgary with the Flames taking that one 3-1. The puck drops at 8:30pm MT on SNET-CGY and the Fan 960.
They will then head to Anaheim, California to play the Ducks in the first of four meetings between the two teams on Friday night. Game time is 8:00 pm MT on SNET-CGY and the Fan 960.
BALANCED SCORING- KOSTOPOULOS CONTRIBUTES
Tom Kostopoulos scored his first goal as a Flame in Tuesday night's win over the Tampa Bay Lightning. The 4th liner, playing with Brendan Morrison and Tim Jackman, has been playing well as of late and getting more and more chances to score. Last night, the puck finally went in and the monkey is off his back.
"It's nice," said Kostopoulos. "I've mostly been working hard every night trying to keep pucks out of our net but to be able to contribute offensively, Babchuk put one in the other night and for me last night, it was nice to be a player that is contributing that way.
"It was a little bit of a relief. I've had some chances since I've been here so it's nice to put one in."
Having all four lines scoring not only helps the team to win but it also helps take the pressure off of the guys who are looked at to score night after night. Of course every line wants to contribute offensively, however if that doesn't happen, as a player, you have to be able to identify your roll on the team.
"I think everyone wants to score goals but we're not all blessed with the ability to do it every night," said Kostopoulos. "So you develop a role where you can help the team win and still every night you're trying to score. It's nice when it goes in every once in awhile."
Having balanced scoring gives any team a huge confidence boost both on the ice and off. The Flames have seen a glimpse of this and want more.
"Jackman, TK (Kostopoulos) and Morrison have been unbelievable," said Mark Giordano. "They've been playing really well. They've been getting pucks deep and they get rewarded. They generate chances and get some goals for us. I thought all our lines were good last night. Bourquey (Rene Bourque) was really good, Iggy's line was good and Olli (Jokinen) did a great job yesterday shutting those guys down winning some big face-offs.
"It's not always scoring and putting up points, sometimes things go unnoticed and guys have big nights quietly. We see it in here and the message is clear now. Do what it takes to win."
MATT STAJAN ON THE KEY TO LA
The Flames played the LA Kings in just the second game of the season in which the Flames won 3-1 at home in Calgary. They did a very good job of taking away the speed from the speedy young talent that the Kings done. They will be challenged with that again when they roll into LA Thursday night.
"You have to control the way you play," explained Matt Stajan. "We have to play that way and limit their speed and try to control the game by having possession of the puck. That means winning face-offs and all the little things that contribute to having puck possession. If we can do that and play in their end, we'll be successful. If we let them come at us with speed, we're going to have our hands full and we'll try to avoid that.
"They are a good team," Stajan continued. "They are a young team with a lot of skill. They work hard and it's always a tough building to go into so we've got our hands full for sure. We just have to worry about playing a solid road game, have all 20 guys going and hopefully we can get two points out of there and move on to Anaheim."
One key to the Flames success is staying disciplined and staying out of the box. The last few games that they have lost, they have taken several penalty minutes resulting in several goals against.
"It's shown here the last few weeks," said Stajan. "The games we've struggled in are the ones that we take a lot of penalties but 5-on-5 we can play with any team in this league. If we stay out of the box and play 5-on-5 we'll have a chance to win."
Author: Kristi Hennessy