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Morning Skate Report: Flames vs. Oilers

by Jason Johnson / Calgary Flames




KEEPING THE MOMENTUM

The Flames have arguably been playing the best road hockey of the season on their current three-game swing.

They have earned three of a possible four points on the trip with a pair of games against the Kings and the Sharks. Both games needed a shootout to settle the outcome with the Flames splitting with a win and a loss.

There was an indication that Alex Tanguay might be back after missing 14 games with the team but Flames head coach Brent Sutter says he's not quite ready yet.

"It's his first day practicing with the group, we talked to him this morning and I want him to get a few practices in so he has his pace to where it needs to be and he can help our hockey team."

There is also a possibility of Brendan Morrison making a return to the line-up after missing the last six games.

According to Sutter, Morrison will be a game time decision.

The losing effort in San Jose was possibly the most complete game the team has put together all season and against one of the top teams in the league. Despite the setback Brent Sutter says the team is ready.

"It's not so much about how we've played Edmonton in the past it's more about how we're playing right now and how we want to play."

Sutter also credit's the team's recent success to the attention in their own zone. The Flames have only allowed 13 goals in their past 6 games.

"Our battle and complete level is where it needs to be. I know we came back after the Christmas break and there was some guards dropped after playing well before then and we put a clamp on it."

"In the last six games we've done things at a level where I'd like to see and our commitment to play better defensively is much better."

The Flames currently sit two points back of Colorado for the eighth and final playoff spot in the Western Conference. To further complicate things they would also need to leap-frog The Minnesota Wild and the Dallas Stars.

The bottom line is there is a log-jam from the 6th position to the 12th spot with an eight point difference.

Things aren't likely to change for the remainder of the season.

CAMMALLERI SETTLING IN

Michael Cammalleri's whirl-wind week where he saw himself being pulled off the ice after contributing for two periods in Boston for the Montreal Canadians where he was told he had been traded to the Flames, finally came to an end and he has been able to get settled with his new club.

Camalleri has now played three games for the Flames registering one goal and a shootout winning goal.

"I'm enjoying myself, it's been good. The boys have embraced me and it's been fun." said the 29-year-old forward, We've been able to play some pretty good hockey games in the past few games so we'll try to build off that."

Cammalier came from a situation where the Habs are basically out of any kind of playoff battle to the Flames who are right in the thick of things.

"I was well aware coming in that that's where we were," said Cammalleri, "The coach's message was pretty clear this morning, we need to keep up the intensity. We understand what we've been doing right the last couple of games and we need we need to continue that to have a chance."

RED HOT IN OIL COUNTRY

The Flames have owned the Oilers for several years now. Winners of 17 of the last 19 games, the Flames clearly have the edge tonight, especially considering the dive the Oliers have taken in the Standings in the past 6 weeks.

Edmonton have only won five game in their last 24 contests and have plummeted to the near the bottom of the Western Conference.

Despite the domination, Jarome Iginla knows they are still one of the Flames closest rivals and it's still won't be easy.

"We've had some success against them, It's something that we don't take for granted. They want to beat us just as much as we want to beat them."

"It is more than just a game. It's a big rivalry and we just want to come out and play our game and be ready to compete."

Author: Jason Johnson

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