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Poise, not panic

by Torie Peterson / Calgary Flames

CALGARY, AB -- If the Calgary Flames are frustrated, no one can blame them.

In their last two games, they've played extremely well. They've controlled the play for the majority of the contest, outshot the opposition 68-45 and have picked up nine power plays in that span.

However, they have come out on the losing end of things despite that dominance. If a few bounces had went their way, their record could easily be 4-3-0 instead of 2-4-1.

"We are playing the style we want to play. The last few games have been pretty solid," Jarome Iginla said. "If we play like that for the rest of the year, we're going to get our share of wins. We're going to be in good shape."

Defenceman Cory Sarich noted the team has played in their fair share of tight games thus far and while he's been happy with their overall performance, the minuet blunders are the ones that need to be addressed as they often mean the difference between a win or a loss.

"If we're going to be in close games, we've just got to do the extra to win those games."

When frustration settles in, teams often start to make mistakes as they try to force the issue. Instead of playing a poised game, a more stilted, error-prone style takes over with players more willing to take chances in hopes of finding the back of the net.

Iginla has seen this happen throughout his career, not just with his own team but with clubs around the League. He knows his teammates just have to continue to put in a solid effort every night if they want to work past this rough spot.

"The key is not to get frustrated or deviate from the style we want to play. We didn't give up a lot of scoring chances, had a lot for. There are still areas we can improve on. We don't think we've hit it or that's it but we're going in the right direction.

"A big part of this homestand wasn't just about getting wins and being so much over .500 as it was also just making sure that we shore up the style of game we want to play."

In the second half of the 2010-11 season, the Flames were one of the best teams offensively in the entire NHL. In the first seven games this year, they have mustered just 15. The only team worse off than them in that department? The Edmonton Oilers, who have found the back of the net 13 times.

Bad breaks does play a part in this but there have been times the team has been caught trying to make a pretty, tic-tac-toe passing play instead of just wiring a shot on net. Head coach Brent Sutter addressed that issue earlier in the season, stating his team needed to be reminded they are most successful when they play a grittier style.

"We will score goals," Iginla stated with certainty. "It's really just continuing to work hard, work on our game, get a little better in certain areas but also knowing that we're doing some good things. If we stick with it, we will get ourselves on a roll."

Follow Torie Peterson on Twitter | @ToriePeterson

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