The Calgary Flames are back on the road.
And there is one message coming through loud and clear: It's time to win some hockey games.
After hitting the road for a game last Friday in Minnesota, a tough 2-1 loss in a highly-contested game, players and coaches returned to Calgary for the weekend, practising Saturday and again on Monday before leaving for the rest of the road trip, which continues in Colorado Tuesday, hits Phoenix Friday and finishes in San Jose on Saturday.
"We need a win. We don't want things to slip away," said centre Matt Stajan
. "We have to be bearing down and getting more shots on the net."
The Flames have lost four in a row, the last two games by identical 2-1 scores to the Wild and the Red Wings.
And while there has been plenty of talk about what needs to be done, it is now time to execute, said Stajan.
"As a group we know we have the team here. We know we have to play a full game," said Stajan. "We know we can't take shifts off. We can sit here and talk all we want but have to go out and do it,"
No time like the present. Points are tougher to come by as the season progresses.
"Two points now are as important as two points in March," said Stajan. "We have to get back on track and find ways to win hockey games. There are a lot of big games coming up. a lot of points on the board. Catching up late in the year is tough to do.. It takes a lot out of you. We found that out last year."
The Flames are 6-7-0 and, prior to action Monday night, were three points behind Dallas for the final playoff spot.
That's not a huge gap and, truth be told, there is still lots of hockey to be played. Still, there is urgency within the Flames dressing room.
"To get to 96 points you have to win three out of every five consistently," said forward Alex Tanguay
. "It's time to do the things that make us successful and gel as a team. Right now we are all focused on the outcome. There is a process to get to that outcome. We'll get there. We have too much experience."
The Flames-Avs game Tuesday starts at 7:30 pm MTN on Sportsnet West and The Fan 960.IT'S A TEAM GAME
Flames head coach Brent Sutter saw plenty of good in the Flames 2-1 loss to Minnesota on Friday.
"I thought the other night we played a pretty good hockey game. We just didn't capitalize on some of our opportunities," said Sutter.
It's the old adage in team sports. Sometimes, when you are rolling, you win games you shouldn't win. And when you are struggling, as the Flames have lately, you lose games you shouldn't.
Sutter said the key to getting back on track is playing a team game -- much like Colorado, the Flames opponent Tuesday.
"They play a team-oriented game. Everyone does it and they have success with it," said Sutter.
"We just want to play the way we can. And have that will to win."GLENCROSS MAKES TRIPCurtis Glencross
, who missed Saturday's practice with a lower body injury, will be on the trip.
"I had a little nag going. Hopefully it is gone. It feels pretty good right now," said Glencross after practising with the team on Monday.
Head coach Brent Sutter said no decision on whether Glencross would play Tuesday against Colorado had been made.
"That will be a gametime decision," said Sutter.