The last time Calgary took a trip away from Scotiabank Saddledome, the Flames came away with just two of a possible 10 points. Coach Bob Hartley is hoping his team’s four-game, seven-day trip through the Central Division is much more fruitful.
He's already decided the recipe for success on the road.
“I think to get a couple of key saves would definitely help and at the same time, I can’t fault the effort,” Hartley said. “Getting a few power play goals, keep working hard. I think that we’re not getting the results that we want.”
The trip will see the Flames play the Chicago Blackhawks on Sunday and the Minnesota Wild on Tuesday before back-to-back games against the St. Louis Blues and Colorado Avalanche starting Thursday.
But getting away from Scotiabank Saddledome could be equally important for Hartley’s troops. The team picked up just one win on a three-game home stand.
Still, the Flames aren’t about to get down on themselves.
“We only got one win out of three home games but at the same time, I think that the guys are showing up to work,” he said. “The attitude is unbelievable. It’s just a matter of catching a couple of breaks and everyone being good.”
WINDY CITY SHOWDOWN
Getting his Flames back on the right track starts Sunday for Hartley.
The Flames will kick off the road trip against the Blackhawks, who sit second in the Central after coming off back-to-back wins.
“They’re a team with basically no weaknesses,” Hartley said. “It’s just to bring our best game. We went into LA. LA is a great hockey club and we beat them so I think it’s just a matter of playing our game…making sure we’re mentally and physically ready and I have confidence in our guys.”
Calgary went 0-2-1 against Chicago last season, including a 3-2 shootout loss on February 3rd that saw then Blackhawks goaltender Ray Emery make 45 saves.
One game after being made a healthy scratch by Hartley, Mikael Backlund had just 11 shifts for 8:10 against the Detroit Red Wings on Friday.
It wasn’t a large enough sample to evaluate the play of the 24-year-old in his return.
“With the minutes that I gave him, it’s pretty unfair for me to judge Backs’ game,” Hartley said. “You see him work. I have lots of time for Backs and it’s a matter of just to keep working hard and keep a positive attitude which he has. He’ll be fine.”
Backlund had the least amount of ice time between Calgary’s four centres. Matt Stajan played 17:10, while Sean Monahan (16:58) and Joe Colborne 16:36) also topped Backlund’s minutes.
“It’s part of the battle,” Hartley said. “That’s what I told him. Monahan and Colborne came in and kind of stole some of his ice time. That’s the competitive nature of this business. I told him, I said ‘You have to fight back, you have to push back and you have to give me reasons to say Backs deserves a little bit more’ and take some away from one or two or three other centremen. That’s his challenge and that’s my challenge at the same time.”
“For me, Cammy has always been the same since Day 1 that I arrived here. Cammy makes some unbelievable plays. He’s a great leader. Unfortunately he got injured in training camp and that took way longer than what we first thought but he stayed in shape, he skated a lot, did lots of extra on his own and it’s paying off right now. He’s a great worker and he’s a very important part of this team.”
-Hartley on Mike Cammalleri
The Flames fly to Chicago to tackle the Blackhawks for the first of three meetings this season on Sunday (5:30 p.m. MT, SNET-W).