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Jekyll and Hyde: the Flames power play

by Torie Peterson / Calgary Flames

CALGARY, AB -- The only word to describe the Calgary Flames power play is mystifying.

On the road, Calgary is second to only the Colorado Avalanche when it comes to their power play. They scored on 12 of their 29 opportunities in other team's barns.

At home, they have had 34 opportunities with the extra man. They have scored on just two of those occasions, giving them the worst home record in the League when it comes to the power play.

That, folks, is a 27.1 percent difference in connection rates, something the no one within the organization is pleased about.

"It shouldn't be any different," defenceman Jay Bouwmeester told the media after Tuesday's loss 3-0 to the Minnesota Wild. "I don’t know for whatever reason, it obviously wasn’t very good tonight. We score on a couple of those and it’s a different game.

"When you get that many opportunities, you have to score. It’s frustrating."

Captain Jarome Iginla, who drew a 5:00 power play after being head-butted by Nick Johnson during a fight in the second period, felt if his team's time on the power play would have carried the same weight as their even strength play, they could have easily won the game.

"You talk all the time about special teams being important and unfortunately our powerplay lost us the game tonight. It was one of the tougher nights we’ve had that I can remember."

Head coach Brent Sutter was reluctant to talk about his squad's dismal time with the man advantage on Tuesday night, looking agitated at the mere thought of it.

"I’m embarrassed to talk about our power play tonight," he said. "You have 17 minutes on the power play and don’t score a goal on it ... you don’t deserve to win the game.

"That’s one-third of the hockey game and there has to be some responsibility taken on the players’ shoulders to make sure it gets better."

There will be a bit of a repreive for the team as they embark on a two-game road swing this weekend but once they are back in town to face off against the Ottawa Senators - who are 23rd in the League when it comes to penalty killing on the road - the pressure is back on. If their power play at home doesn't improve quickly, it could be the difference between playing in the postseason or watching from afar.

"We're not in the situation where we can give away points," Alex Tanguay said. "Last year we did until Christmas and we missed the playoffs by three points.

"We know what is at stake. We know what we have to do."

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