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Flames focused on strong start right from the get-go against Avs

by GEORGE JOHNSON @GJohnsonFlames /

The Flames are, in a word, excited.

"It's been almost five, six days for both teams," said Travis Hamonic following Thursday's Game One morning skate. "I imagine they're anxious and excited to go, too.

"It should be fun.

"The atmosphere's going. Everyone in Calgary is excited. We're excited. You've got to embrace it. Use it for the right reasons and in the right way.

"It's important to keep your emotions in check, especially in the first 10 (minutes). You want to get into the game, into the series, and you'll probably meet your match-up a couple times on those first few shifts, get familiar with the other team pretty quick.

"Let's get started on the right foot.

"You work all year to set yourself up after 82 games to be in the playoffs with a chance to win the Cup.

"You grind through the ups and downs and adversity to be in this spot. There are a lot of good teams who aren't in the playoffs.

"We know the goal, where we want to get to, as a group, as an organization, as players."







Puck drop against the Colorado Avalanche is 8 p.m. The Flames were 3-0 versus Colorado this season.

"We know what happened (Wednesday), there were upsets, home teams lost," said winger Michael Frolik, a Stanley Cup winner in Chicago. "You want to make sure you take advantage of home ice. Keep it simple at the start.

"I think we are ready. We need to be. They're a good team. Hopefully we can control the emotions. They're going to be high.

"If you're going to be successful you need to find an extra gear. Every single guy has to be good, at the top of their game.

"If we do that - and I think they will - we'll be fine."


Video: "It's going to be a lot of fun"


Mike Smith receives the start in goal for Calgary to start the series, with David Rittich in reserve.

"I think the best part of his season has been the last six weeks," said coach Bill Peters. "And that's important. Ritter will be ready if needed. No different than anybody else. We're sitting here with 15-10-3. If we need to use some of the bodies that don't play tonight, we will."

Peters knows what he wants to see from his team at the opening of the game.

"You're better off to keep it simple. Get pucks behind them and establish your forecheck. That's all I want to do early.

"If something jumps out early, like an odd-man rush, let's take advantage of that. But let's get on the body, get pucks deep, get everybody in the game and go from there."

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