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Flames 'feeling good' about stretch run games

by Staff Writer / Calgary Flames
Rookie David Moss, the shiny red all-business tie around his neck, is all smiles. And why not? He and the Calgary Flames had just doubled up the Edmonton Oilers 4-2 at Rexall Place to snap a seven-game winless streak on the road.

"It's important because we know we are playing well as a team and guys are feeling good," said Moss, who scored his eighth of the season in the win.

Having won their eighth game on the road most of the Flames were all smiles and looking to build on the game in Edmonton through the remainder of the season and into the playoffs.

"It's that time of year where we need to solidify our playoff spot and move up," said captain Jarome Iginla.

There are 17 games remaining, including Tuesday's stop in St.. Louis (6 p.m. Sportsnet and The Fan 960) with nine of those games on the road. If the Flames are planning on winning the Northwest Division and gaining home ice advantage in the playoffs, putting a string of wins together on the road is critical.

Beating Edmonton was a confidence-boost. With St. Louis, now revamped and playing a better system of hockey under new coach Andy Murray, and Nashville, a town in which the Flames have lost six straight in, we'll soon know how big a confidence boost.

"When you play a consistent road game like that (in Edmonton), you are going to have a chance to win," said Moss, who also sent plenty of credit towards goaltender Miikka Kiprusoff who came up with two big saves in the third period against the Oilers to secure the Flames win.

"He is a difference-maker. On the road, to get two big saves like that, especially in the third period, is huge."

The coaching staff are looking for the team to improve, particularly in the five-on-five mode. And there were encouraging signs against Edmonton on Saturday.

"The most important thing for our team is to make sure our five-on-five play improves and that means being good all over the ice," said head coach Jim Playfair. "We have to be first on pucks, strong on pucks and not giving pucks away. You have to be strong on pucks to keep the goals against down. That's when you are a hard team to play against."

And on the road?

"Our focus on the road is getting the lead, maintaining the lead and keeping the lead, being strong with the lead," said Playfair, adding the Flames have given up leads 15 times this season."

While a playoff spot is not yet a given, it's getting close. Colorado (10 points) and Edmonton (13 points) are in the rearview mirror but really only Colorado, with three games remaining against the Flames, is a threat.

"We don't look at the teams that are behind us and say 'Let's stay in front of them.' We are looking at the teams ahead of us and saying 'Let's go get them'," said Playfair. "Colorado is not going to go away. They are going to push to the end. You have to know that is how it is going to play out. So you have to take control and play to your strengths."

 

 

 

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