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Flames focus is forward with key Pacific Division match-ups ahead

by Aaron Vickers / Calgary Flames

CALGARY, AB -- They’ve said their apologies.

Now forwards Johnny Gaudreau, Sean Monahan and Lance Bouma are hoping they can help push the Calgary Flames forward with two pivotal match-ups against Pacific Division opponents upcoming.

“We’ve got a big road trip here and this is something that we’ve each got to put behind us,” Gaudreau said. “We’ve got to make sure it doesn’t happen again. We’ve got to worry about hockey now, focus on hockey and get back to trying to win and move up in the standings here and try to get into a playoff position for the Flames.”

The Flames play back-to-back nights, starting with the San Jose Sharks on Thursday before finishing the two-game road trip Friday against the Arizona Coyotes.

Both teams are ahead of Calgary in the standings.

“It’s tough to watch the guys play without you being on the ice,” Gaudreau said. “I think the only way … the best apology for us three is to come out against San Jose and have our best game of the season and help this team win and help this team move up in the standings. We had a pretty sincere apology but the best apology would be helping this team win as much as possible and playing our best hockey the rest of the season.”

The trio served as healthy scratches in the Flames’ 4-3 win against the Toronto Maple Leafs on Tuesday because of a violation of team rules.

“Obviously the other day we made a mistake,” Monahan said. “It’s the first and last time that’s going to happen. We’d like to apologize to the fans especially, but to teammates, the organization and we’re going to get back on track and be professionals and do everything the right way from now on.

“It’s tough. I’m a young guy and I’m a leader on this team. I’ve got to step up and take that back and earn that respect again.”

The 22-year-old Gaudreau leads the Flames in goals (21) assists (28) and points (49). Monahan, 21, is second with 16 goals and 35 points. Bouma has one goal and has been limited to 17 games played this season because of injury.

“We’re not happy with it. We made a mistake and we’re all human,” Bouma said. “It’s disappointing that it had to happen and that everyone has to know about it, but it’s something that we’re not happy about. We’re embarrassed about it and we want to move on from it.”

Calgary, winners of two straight games, sits sixth in the Pacific and trail the third-place Anaheim Ducks by eight points. The Flames also trail the Nashville Predators by seven points. Nashville currently holds the second wild card entry into the Stanley Cup Playoffs in the Western Conference.

“Those are probably two of the most important games of our season,” Flames coach Bob Hartley said. “Lets be clear on this. I’ve just said that we have to recognize situations. This is a great situation for us. The dads are on the trip. Two huge games, against two teams that are playing very well. We’re playing very well, too. Lets get on the road.

“Lets improve our road record and lets collect some big wins.”

And move forward.

“They’re very important games,” Bouma said. “Any divisional games from here on until the end of the season are going to be very important. With the position we’re in, we can’t take any games lightly. It’s going to be a huge for us.”

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