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Improving power play a priority for Calgary

With the penalty kill looking much stronger in recent games, the Flames are turning their attention to the power play

by Torie Peterson @ToriePeterson /

PHILADELPHIA, PA -- Special teams have been an issue for the Calgary Flames in the 2016-17 season but with their penalty kill looking much stronger as of late, the team is focusing on shoring up their power play.

"The penalty has come a long way," Kris Versteeg said. "The last few games, they've given us chances to win and they've been keeping us in it.

"Now it's time for the power play to step up and get us some goals and also generate some points for us in the win column. We're right there - we're starting to see [ourselves get] better in the standings. So we get our power play going and I think it will result in more wins and put us right back to where we want to be in the standings."

Indeed, the penalty kill has been a key factor in the Flames' last two games.

In a 2-0 win over the Columbus Blue Jackets on Wednesday, they shut down the league's hottest power play - including killing off a four-minute power play in the second period.

On Friday, the Flames' penalty killers denied the Bruins on four opportunities with the power play in a tight 2-1 victory in Boston.

While the power play has picked up a goal this past week - Micheal Ferland's tally in Columbus - it has still sputtered overall. The Flames have just that one goal with the man advantage in their last six games and sit 30th in the NHL with a 9.3 percent conversion rate on the power play.

The team has been pleased with their even-strength play in recent weeks so maintaining their steadiness on the penalty kill - the Flyers boast the second best power play in the league (25.7 percent) - and kick-starting the power play will be key in tonight's game in Philadelphia.

"I think over five-on-five play has been great. Obviously [Johnson's] been giving us some big games, which helps, but if we can win the special teams battle, I think you're giving yourself a good chance to win the game ... we've talked about that a lot," Matt Stajan said.

"The one game we lost on this trip is the game our PK gave up some goals. It's no secret to what a difference [special teams] can be in a game. It's a big focus for us."

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