Holding on for a 3-2 win over the Phoenix Coyotes on Wednesday, the Calgary Flames snapped a seven-game losing skid at Scotiabank Saddledome.
Ending the streak -- a franchise record -- was a noticeable weight off centre-turned-winger Joe Colborne.
“It’s a proud bunch of guys in here,” Colborne said. “Our fans have been so supportive of us. We haven’t had any problems. I think that they’ve seen the effort is there and they’re okay with it. It’s definitely nice to get one for them and hopefully start turning it around here.”
Prior to the win over the Coyotes, Calgary’s last win came in a 4-3 shootout victory over the St. Louis Blues on Dec. 23. The Flames had been outscored 22-4 at home during the seven-game stretch.
With one streak busted, Kris Russell hopes his team can put together a more positive stretch.
“To be a good team, you have to win at home,” Russell said. “We’ve got to play well at home and take advantage of teams coming here. Hopefully we can use last game. I thought we played well. Obviously there are things you can work on but it’s a step and we’ve got to keep improving at home.”
STRING ON THE ‘STAND
The next step, Russell admitted, comes against the Nashville Predators.
The Flames host Nashville on Friday and Russell, who has played twice since returning from a second degree MCL sprain, believes the current five-game homestand can be the key to getting Calgary back on track.
“Every game right now is important,” Russell said. “We’ve got to play well. We’ve got to play strong for 60 minutes and not take shifts off, take periods off. That’s when we get down. We’re a team that has to compete for 60 minutes and we did that last night and we can continue that over against Nashville.”
Stringing together wins on home ice is essential, Colborne said.
“That’s what good teams do and that’s the difference between tops teams,” he said. “They can string together wins and take advantage of homestands like this. Bad teams don’t. [Nashville]’s a big test.”
MAINTENANCE DAY FOR DUO
Two Flames skaters were noticeable by their absence at practice on Thursday.
Defenceman Ladislav Smid and forward Brian McGrattan didn’t join teammates on the ice but coach Bob Hartley cautioned the duo were just taking a skate off.
“Maintenance,” he said. “Bumps and bruises. They should be fine for tomorrow.”
Against Phoenix, Smid recorded three hits and four blocked shots in 16:39 of work while McGrattan played 4:55 over 11 shifts.
Mike Cammalleri, currently sidelined with a concussion, skated on his own before practice for the first time since suffering the injury.
“Obviously he’s on a trial basis. You look at centre, we have three young centremen with Backlund, Monahan and Colbie and we have Staj. I want to fast-forward all of those guys progression so the best way is to try to give them maximum ice time. I feel that because of Colbie with his size, he can work the boards. Right now he’s learning a new position. I think that whether we put him back at centre or keep him on the wing, it’s going to make him a better player.
-Hartley on Colborne's move to the wing
The Flames continue with their second of five straight at Scotiabank Saddledome when they welcome the Predators on Friday (7 p.m MST, SNET-Flames, Sportsnet 960 The Fan).