CALGARY, AB -- The Calgary Flames are big subscribers to the theory that one is never in trouble in a playoff series until there’s a loss on home ice.
They hope to avoid trouble on Tuesday.
After losing the first two games of the Western Conference Second Round series against the Anaheim Ducks at Honda Center, the Flames expect a move to Scotiabank Saddledome for Game 3 on Tuesday (7:30 p.m. MT, Sportsnet, SN960) to help bring a change of fortune.
“We’ve played well at home, so we are very confident in our game when we come to the Saddledome,” Calgary defenceman Kris Russell said. “We’ve got great fans that support us well. Playing in front of our fans and the atmosphere we have and the support they give us, provides us with that added boost. At the same time, (the Ducks) are going to be coming with their best effort, so we’ve got to make sure we are prepared.”
Anaheim hasn’t been kind to the Flames.
The Ducks have 21 consecutive victories over Calgary on home ice, dating to April 27, 2006 (regular season and playoffs).
The ‘Dome has been a lot more friendly venue. The Flames, along with Anaheim (4-0) and the Chicago Blackhawks (5-0) are the only undefeated teams on home ice in the playoffs. All three of Calgary’s wins at home came in the first round against the Vancouver Canucks.
The Flames hope their fortunes continue in an attempt to turn around their fortunes against the Ducks.
“It was long four days away and I think there is a lot of excitement with our fans to come play in our own building,” Calgary forward David Jones said. “Playing here (in Calgary) is unbelievable, we’ve got the best fans so we are all looking forward to being home. Just being in that building helps bring everyone’s level up another degree.”
The last time Calgary played at home, the Flames overcame deficits of 3-0 and 4-3 before dispatching of the Canucks 7-6 to win the best-of-7 series in six games.
“This building is our building,” coach Bob Hartley said. “Our fans will be at the rink early tomorrow and they’re going to start chanting. We are going to hear them from our locker room. We know the atmosphere that there’s going to be at our rink. It’s up to us to take advantage of that energy and build a solid momentum.”
It won’t serve as completely unfamiliar surroundings for the Ducks.
Anaheim was forced to go into MTS Centre, often regarded as the loudest building in the NHL, in their opening round series against the Winnipeg Jets. The Ducks took both games en route to earning the first round sweep.
Corey Perry, who leads all postseason scorers with 13 points in six games, expects something similar.
“It’s going to be a hostile environment,” Perry said. “It’s going to be loud. It’s going to be crazy. The fans are going to be nuts. We know what we have to do. We have to play a boring road game and try to get ready.”
The Flames are returning to Calgary with a positive mindset. Despite trailing 2-0 in the series, Russell suggested the team has the proper mentality to bounce back on home ice.
“It’s good,” he said. “Obviously we’d like to be up 2-0, but we haven’t had the chance to play them at home. We feel like the series is long from over, but with saying that, there is a lot of work that needs to be done. It starts with us. We’ve got to prepare to start in game three and we’ve got to make sure we go after them early and get some chances early.”
The positive mentality despite trailing comes from the leadership core, Russell included, Hartley suggested.
“We talk to them a lot, plus our veteran group like Mark Giordano and the veterans, in team meals or at the rink, we give little jobs to certain veterans to talk to certain guys,” Hartley said. “Obviously we have a job as a coaching staff also. We are a tight group and this is a great learning experience for our young players and we’re going to continue to play them.”
NOTES: The Flames didn’t skate Monday after returning from Anaheim in the afternoon…Karri Ramo is expected to earn his second straight start in Game 3…Calgary is expecting to dress rookie Sam Bennett, who with his 10th game of the season will have the first year of his three-year, entry-level contract kick in.