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'You have to move on. We've got to focus on this next game.'

by GEORGE JOHNSON @GJohnsonFlames /

No one was harder on Brian Elliott in the deflating aftermath of the Game 3 stunner than Brian Elliott himself.

Getzalf, Perry, Silfverberg and the rest of the Anaheim Ducks didn't lay into the to the Flames' goaltender nearly as bad as he beat himself up.

"I have to own that,'' he confessed of the blown three-goal lead that led to the Calgary Flames' 5-4 OT defeat and a massive three-game hole in this series.

"You want to help the team more than hurt it."

A night of reflection later, the goaltender's spirits had brightened at least somewhat with a non-negotiable test looming in less than 36 hours.

"You get over it,'' said Elliott early Tuesday afternoon. "I think it's a case of you're never as good you think/you're never as bad as you think.

"Just kind of live in the moment. Don't think about yesterday or tomorrow. Live for today. Any mentor I've had has said the same thing: You can't control everything. So control what you can, come with a smile on your face and do what you've prepared your whole life for.

"You have to move on. We've got to focus on this next game.

"We're not looking to win a whole series. It's just play this game."

On a loose optional practice day, as the Flames endeavoured to inject a renewed sense of resilience in time for a possible elimination game, Elliott elected to hit the ice to regain lost rhythm.

"I just wanted to get out there and feel a couple pucks,'' he explained. "When all else fails, do what your good at. So go out, have a little bit of a session, go home and feel good about yourself."

Whether or not Elliott is the man is yet to be determined. A few goals in the past two games, most vitally Shea Theodore's momentum-altering late second-period snipe that pumped fresh oxygen into withered Anaheim lungs, are being highly scrutinized.

In going the post-season distance thus far, Elliott has a 3.67 GAA and .887 save percentage.

There are two schools of thought on the goaltending issue:

*Elliott's stellar play through the second half of the year, particularly down the stretch, warrants another show of faith, of trust, in this most delicate of moments.

*Switching up to Chad Johnson could provide a much needed spark, a change of pace, for a team desperately in search of some sort of good news to build on.

 Either way, the Flames themselves insist they'll be fine.

"I mean, Moose has been great for us,'' defended captain Mark Giordano. "He's the reason we're in the playoffs, why we're here right now.

"It's our whole team. When bad things happen we've got to pick each other up and move on in a better way."

Coach Glen Gulutzan wasn't tipping his hand on a starting netminder during a media availability Tuesday afternoon.

"We always let our goalies know by 5 o'clock. Well, (Elliott)'s battled. He's done what he's done all year in a smaller time frame.

"After the first, second goal in (Game 1) Anaheim he came back and played fantastic for two periods after we had some weak moments.

"I think our whole team is kinda living the whole year in one series."

Elliott, too, was waiting on word.

"I don't think it's set in stone yet. But I definitely want that opportunity, for sure."

The man who answers to Moose has earned his reputation as a battler. 

He'd relish another opportunity.

"I don't shy away from 'em."

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