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Taking confidence on the road

by Mike Board / Calgary Flames
Eric Nystrom likely spoke for most the Calgary Flames following a big, 6-2 win Monday over the Montreal Canadiens at the Pengrowth Saddledome.

Yes, there was a confidence boost and yes, that boost came just at the right time -- before an important, three-game road trip to Anaheim, Los Angeles and Phoenix that begins Wednesday in Anaheim.

"It was a good win," said Nystrom. "We're not going to be going around patting ourselves on the back. We've only won one game in our last five games. It is good for our confidence. That was a good team (Montreal) that we beat and we beat them pretty handily. That's good for our confidence going out on the road."

Calgary is 11-11-1 away from the 'Dome and heading to some tough buildings, not to mention back-to-back games in Anaheim and Los Angeles before a Saturday date in the desert against the Coyotes.

After losing four straight, the Flames found their game Monday.

"Absolutely," said Nystrom. "We might have been getting away from our game a little bit. Emotion is part of our game. And so is intensity. We brought that and played a strong game, made some strong plays. That's the way we have to play if we want to win."

The Flames departed for Anaheim on Tuesday morning knowing in their minds what has to happen for them to have success on the road.

"I'm really pleased about our effort. We were working hard to get out of a little slump," said head coach Mike Keenan. "We can carry that into our next road series. We are .500 on the road and now we've got to get back to a more defensive style and a more intense style of game on the road to have success there as well."

The Flames twice fell behind by a goal against Montreal but erased those deficits to dominate the Canadiens -- they outshot the visitors 20-4 in the second period and put 41 shots on the Montreal net.

"We had a deficit twice but we were trying to do the same things over and over. We were able to get some momentum in the second period...With the momentum we got some scoring chances and finished at the net. We got some results because of our work."

The return of the Flames secondary scoring, such a critical part of the success they have had this season, didn't hurt either. David Moss, Dustin Boyd, Rene Bourque and Matthew Lombardi all scored for Calgary.

Keenan juggled his lines to give the team a little shake-up to provide a little spark.

"We've worked the lines around enough that they are somewhat comfortable with each other, particularly the top nine group. We have moved them around quite a bit. Sometimes it is moving the lines and loking for some different chemistry, or different energy from players," he said.

Whatever the formula, it worked.

"Pro sports can be very fickle," noted forward Michae Cammalleri, who scored his 28th of the season against Montreal. "It's crazy how quick things can change. We had probably been squeezing it a little bit over the last little while. So it's a nice feeling to have a win."

"We were struggling a bit and lacked some confidence. This will help us out as we go on a big road trip," added Bourque.

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