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Recent schedule a benefit to Flames top line

Johnny Gaudreau, Sean Monahan & Kris Versteeg are hoping to kick start the Flames offence tonight

by Torie Peterson @ToriePeterson /

Through the opening three games of the season, the Calgary Flames top line hasn't been the offensive catalysts one would expect.

Johnny Gaudreau, Sean Monahan and Kris Versteeg have combined for three points this season and have put just 18 shots on net since the Flames' season opener in Edmonton last Wednesday.

"It's frustrating. You never want to start like that," Gaudreau stated. "But players go through that throughout the season. Whether it's the start of the season, end of the season, middle of the season ... it comes at a time. It's not the right time for us, for me, to not be finding the net or start off a little slow.

"But we have a good week ahead of us here. Three important games, take it one game at a time and try to get three wins out of these three games this week."

The situations surrounding the Flames' top trio are very unique.

Gaudreau only managed to get one practice under his belt ahead of the season opener due to contract negotiations. Monahan was limited in his on-ice time for the majority of camp as a result of a back strain he suffered in early September. And Versteeg was thrown right into the fire last week, with his first skate with the team coming the morning of the season opener in Edmonton.

So, given the circumstances, it is reasonable to think the three players would need a bit of time to acclimatize themselves to one another and the new system implemented by head coach Glen Gulutzan.

And the team very much understands this. 

The group is focused on playing a more consistent game, not about three players' production through the opening handful of games.

"At the start of the season, it always seems ... if a guy doesn't score a goal for the first three or four games, it's a huge deal. But think about during the season -- it happens all the time, two, three game stretches where guys don't score goals," captain Mark Giordano said.

"Yeah, you'd like to see them get some numbers offensively right away and get feeling good. But our main goal as group is ... we're 0-2-1 and we need some points on the board. We feel like we've played a better structured game in Vancouver. We've got to continue getting better and we needs points. This week is huge for us."

The recent schedule will likely benefit Gaudreau, Monahan and Versteeg. 

After suiting up for three games in three cities in four nights, the team had Sunday off before partaking in uptempo practice on Monday.

"I really liked our day off on Sunday. I thought that was, after playing three (games) in four (nights), having a day off and then a practice, that kind of resets you a bit," Gulutzan said after this morning's skate. "It gets you a day away, gets some time for you to get a little organized ... I told them, 'Just stay with it.' I think you'll see a change here."

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