The locker room was quiet Sunday afternoon as the Flames met briefly with the media before an off-ice workout. The players were decidedly sober, eager to get through the formality of their scrums and to a team meeting where they would, presumably, strategize on how to ensure Saturday's meagre performance is not repeated. The team appear ready to move on, lesson learned, from Game 5.
"There's definitely some disappointment, like that's not the effort we want to put forth, we're all a little disgusted with ourselves," said Cory Sarich
. "At the same time you've got to try and find the positives and get ready for tomorrow. You can sit around and dwell on the negatives too long and it'll all be over."
"Last night is one that I don't know how much we're going to look into it or address it. It's something that you want to park it away and move on from. It's the past and there's nothing you can do about it now," agreed Mike Cammalleri
"Today it's done, now it's the next game, it's our job to come home... It's the playoffs, you can't have any kind of let ups, every team wants it so badly," said Jarome Iginla
The Flames found themselves down 3-0 in the first period, and the team from the 'Windy City' seemed to steal all the wind from the Flames' sails. Despite a strong start to the second period, including the Dustin Boyd's first playoff goal, the Flames allowed another two goals in the frame and couldn't muster anything in the third. While there were plenty of players willingly taking the blame for the dismal performance at the United Center, the club’s star players were the ones that wanted to shoulder the weight of the loss.
"We just weren't ready. I wasn't nearly good enough. I was terrible. There's no excuse for that,” sighed Iginla, who was a minus-3 on the night, sent only one shot at Nikolai Khabibulin.
“We'll be ready for the next game."Miikka Kiprusoff
has taken the brunt of the blame for the game from fans, something which the Finn agreed with.
“I have to be better,” he said quietly, adding the game plan for the Flames on Monday was simply competing harder.
“I think we have to be stronger in front of the goal and in front of the nets in both ends.”
Craig Conroy jumped to Kiprusoff’s defence after the goalie was questioned.
“I've seen Miikka have some nights where we've been awful in front of him and he's given up six or seven goal. Miikka's fine. He'll bounce right back. He'll be fine,” Conroy insisted. "We've got to help him, and we've got to be smart as a team.''
Though the Flames are visibly upset with their Game 5 performance, they know with Game 6 tomorrow, there's no time to wallow in the mir.
"At this time of the year, in a playoff game, to play that way is unacceptable. And I wish I had an explanation for you. But it's over. Done with,” said Cammalleri. "Now we have to win the next two games. So be it.''
How does a club let go of a 5-1 loss? Eric Nystrom sees it as a matter of simply leaving that game in Chicago.
“When you walk out of the rink, you forget about it and get ready for the next game," he asserted firmly.
"Confidence, a positive attitude, obviously last night's game wasn't something we can dwell on, but we do have to take whatever we can from it and turn it the other way," said Adrian Aucoin.
"We get ready for tomorrow and it is behind us, it's 3-2 however that game went, now we come home and focus on winning (Game 6)," said Iginla.
With the season hanging in the balance, the team intends to match the intesnity of their fans in the friendly confines of home, and then worry about Game 7.
"We'll use the positivity that is the Saddledome to have a great game... then worry about going back to Chicago and taking one there," said Cammalleri.
-Torie Peterson & Peter Zuurbier