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Flames focused on optimism, turnaround

The Flames have their sights set on turning things around with three games on the docket this week

by Aaron Vickers @AAVickers /

CALGARY, AB -- It's not the start the Calgary Flames were hoping for.

With new coach in tow, and a new goaltending tandem to alleviate last year's concerns, the Flames have come out with a 0-2-1 record through the first three skates of the 2016-17 season. 

But, suggested newcomer Troy Brouwer, not all is lost a week into the new year.

"It's important to realize that the sky is not falling," Brouwer said.

"We put some periods together. We've put some stints in games together that we really like. We've let the game get away from us at points as well. We're learning right now. We're getting better.

"But we're not panicking in here by any means.

"It's not the start we wanted, but we like where we can go." 

The Flames dropped both ends of a home-and-home Battle of Alberta to the Edmonton Oilers to open the season, losing 7-4 at the newly opened Rogers Place on Wednesday before a 5-3 setback at Scotiabank Saddledome on Friday.

Calgary collected their lone point to date in a 2-1 in a shootout against the Vancouver Canucks at Rogers Arena on Saturday.

"It's frustrating losing just one game," centre Sean Monahan said. "Right now we know as a group we've got to be better and find that confidence within our group. We've got to stick together here. It's a process. It's a long season. But we've got to get going here. 

"There's no panic within this room.

"We believe in this group. We believe in our team. It's obviously a process. It's a long year. We've got to get dirty here in the next couple of games and find a way to get some momentum." 

Just for confidence, if nothing else.

"We need to get one and we need to get one quick, if nothing else just for confidence to make sure we don't fall behind," said Brouwer.

"The playoff race is always good, but if you can go out and get off to a good start and get your points early, then you're in a better situation going down into the playoff race. We don't want to go down any ground early on in the season and have to try to make it up in the end."

Brouwer, an alternate captain, understands that. 

So too does captain Mark Giordano, who lived a 2-7-1 start last year that largely derailed the 2015-16 season.

It hasn't been forgotten.

And it's not too early to remind his teammates of last October. 

"It's not too early," Giordano said.

"Honestly, we want to get our game going and feeling good about our game. 

"But it's important to get points now, too. We have to find a way here this week to play desperate, but not panic and squeezing our sticks and play nervous out there. We've got to have that desperation. All that is is second and third efforts and things like that. We need some points here.

"We've got to start getting some points." 

Soon, suggested Monahan.

"I think every game means something in this league," he said. "If you fall behind a little bit it's tough to catch up. It's three games … it's only a couple games … but we've got to get our nose dirty and find our swagger as a group to get the job done and win games." 

The next chance comes Tuesday against the Buffalo Sabres.

The Carolina Hurricanes follow on Thursday. 

Both offer an opportunity to swing Calgary's fortunes.

And their mood.

"Cautious, right now, I would say," Brouwer said. 

"Guys don't want to get too down on themselves. That being said, we're 0-2-1 so you can't be too happy in here. Optimism in here for sure … confidence in ourselves that we are going to be able to put a full game together and get a win.

"We're also cautious as well. We don't want to get too far ahead of ourselves."

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