In anticipation of Game 2 against Chicago, the Flames need to incorporate a bit of selective amnesia to their preparation. While the team let an opportunity to steal the first game pass them by, they need to focus on the large portion of the game in which they did play their style of game, and contained the speedy Blackhawks team effectively.
''We threw a lot at them early, did a lot of good things skating, hitting and shooting, and dominated them for most of the game with lots of scoring chances," captain Jarome Iginla told the Chicago Sun-Times. "We still have lots of energy in our legs, and there's still plenty of good hockey to be played."
"We started the way we wanted to start a road game,'' agreed head coach Mike Keenan. ''We just couldn't sustain the energy, and then they gained some momentum in the third period."
The Flames cannot help but be optimistic despite being down a game in the series; the team that came out for Game 1 was far different than the team that had played Chicago during the regular season. The group brought intensity, effort, and focus from the opening puck-drop Thursday, unfortunately they eased up in the latter portion of the game and allowed Chicago to remain close, and eventually snatch victory from the Flames.
"We were hard on them all night. We play our best when we're going forward," Curtis Glencross told the Calgary Herald. "I think we took it to them for the first 45 minutes of the game. We pushed a few of their smaller players out of the game. We have to keep that going."
"If we take the same approach into (tonight's) game, then we should be OK," agreed Daymond Langkow. "Overall, we can feel pretty good. Obviously, you don't feel good about the loss, but it's one game. . . it's the playoffs, a long series."
Game 2 is also only one game, but statistically it is a much more crucial game than its predecessor. The winner of Game 2 has gone 381-150 (71.8 percent) of the series as opposed to Game 1 winners, who are 367-164 (69.1 percent). Teams that win Game 2 after losing Game 1 have gone 127-113 (52.9 percent).
If Calgary loses tonight in the second city, the Blackhawks will be up 2-0 and that will mean big trouble for the Flames. Teams leading a series 2-0 have gone 254-37 (87.2 percent)
For the Flames to be successful in Game 2 they need to bring a consistent 60-minute effort. The Flames proved they can keep up with the Hawks, but in trying to do so, at the end of the game they veered from playing the grinding, punishing style that frustrated Chicago early. The team is aware they need to bring a steady, persistent effort to get the win.
''We know we're going to play much better tonight and go home with the games 1-1,'' Miikka Kiprusoff told the Chicago Sun-Times.
The United Centre is going to be even more rocking than it was Thursday night, and the Hawks have an opportunity to steal all the momentum and send the Flames home on their heels. Taking Game 2 means going back to the 'Dome with a split, a split that Chicago will then have to accomplish if they want the series to last.