The Calgary Flames are heading out on their most arduous road trip of the season on Saturday
afternoon but the thought of playing five games in seven nights doesn't seem so hard thanks to the huge confidence boost they got after defeating the Chicago Blackhawks 7-2 on Friday.
"This is a start before we go on the road and climbing back to .500. This is a very important game for us, we know that, but it's just a start," said Jarome Iginla
, who notched his first hat trick of the season against the defending Stanley Cup champions. "We dug ourselves a hole but there is time.
"Every year, there's teams that have a tough first 20 games and people count them out and every year, there's always a team or two that nobody thought had a chance to regain some momentum and climb back up and they make the playoffs. This year, we feel that can be us but we know we have a lot of work ahead of us. As a team, we've got to play more confidently. We've got to work hard but we also have to be confident."
Seeing their captain finally bury not one but three chances after scoring in just two of his last 10 outings against the Blackhawks has also lifted the club's morale.
"It's huge," David Moss
emphasized. "For Iggy, he's a goal scorer and he's been getting chances. They happened to go in and I think that's huge for him and big for our team too."Heading out east
The Flames eastern road swing kicks off on Sunday when they visit the Detroit Red Wings and while the trip may sound daunting, the players are embracing the chance to get so many games in against clubs they rarely see.
"I like it," Mark Giordano
said of the trip schedule. "Hopefully we start off well and get on a bit of roll, that's when it's the best. You go on the road and you start winning and it's fun. You're playing every day or every other day. Usually it's a good thing, if you can get on a little bit of a roll."
Flames forward Stefan Meyer
said it's blessing for the team to have so many games in such a short period of time.
"Now we can get something rolling. When you get hot and you've got games back-to-back, it's a good chance to catch up on points and catch up on getting back in the hunt."
Head coach Brent Sutter said the biggest issue with packing in so many games is managing practice time between games.
"The times are different," he said. "There's only two days where we don't play, Tuesday and Thursday, so you've got to expect that practices aren't going to be very lengthy. We want to keep the guys as fresh as we can for the games.
"When you play that much in such a short period of time, you really don't need to practice. We have to go on the ice Thursday simply because Friday is a 1:00 PM ET game and Saturday is a 1:00 PM game. You play on Wednesday night and you can't stay off from Wednesday right through and expect to be sharp come Friday. We'll have to have a pre-game skate type practice on Thursday. It'll be short and then we'll get ready for the weekend."
He also noted that every player needs to maintain as much of a balance in terms of sleep and nutrition so that the entire club is playing at a high level each and every game.
"We're going to have use everybody. We're going to have to have all four lines playing and the six defence that are dressed every night. We need to do a really good job in taking it a game at a time and manage it the best we can."
With two back-to-back contests in a week, backup netminder Henrik Karlsson
will get his third start of the season sometime over the next seven days.
"We'll play Kip tomorrow. I haven't decided past that. I'm going to take it game-to-game," said Sutter. "A lot will depend on tomorrow on whether we go with Karl or Kipper in New York. You've got to expect Karl will play in one of those first three games on this trip."Quotable
"I've never been offered any. I saw a couple nice ones but I've never been offered any." - Iginla on the sea of hats that came down on the ice after his third goal on Friday night
"Just a puck in the face, it's alright." - Moss' grinning response to the new bruise he's sporting after the Flames win over the Blackhawks
"Kip's is really thick. Conny's is really thick but Sarichie has the combo, the side part and the 'stache, so I like his the best ... he gets a lot of hairspray going, parts his hair sideways ... it's old school. He's going for the win." - Giordano on the best Flames mustache during Movember