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'WE STEPPED UP TO THE PLATE'

Lucic, Ryan and Dube look for repeat performance tonight against the Sharks

by TY PILSON @typilson / CalgaryFlames.com

SAN JOSE - Crash and bang.

Forecheck hard.

Pin teams deep in their own zone.

Score goals.

In short, make life extremely unpleasant for the opposition.

In a nutshell, that was the game Dillon Dube, Derek Ryan and Milan Lucic put forth during the Flames 6-2 pounding of the Canucks in Vancouver Saturday night.

All three lit the lamp, while Dube collected three points, and Ryan and Lucic each a pair.

It was a victory the Flames desperately needed to snap a three-game skid.

It was also an offensive outburst just as important for their confidence, as goals had been hard to come by as of late.

Not surprisingly, it all came via hard work, determination, and effort up-and-down the lineup, none more noticable than the aforementioned trio that led the charge.

"I feel like we've had some really good stretches here, we've played some really good hockey together," said Ryan. "Last game was one of the bigger games of the year and I thought we stepped up to the plate and all three of us played really well."

That is, in keeping with Ryan's humble nature, putting it mildly.

Not only did they collect points - the easy metric to measure - they dominated many shifts, as has often been the case this year, even during some of the overall tougher times for the club.

They spent the majority of their time in the offensive job, keeping the Canucks hemmed in.

"I think that scoring is great and I think my line has provided a lot of that," agreed Ryan. "But at the same time, I think we provide a lot of different elements; energy, great on the forecheck, playing a lot in the offensive zone not really playing in our D zone hardly at all. That just creates and builds momentum for our team. It might not be every night we end up on the scoresheet but I think that we can provide a lot in terms of those things."

Heading into Monday night's divisional tilt with Sharks, interim coach Geoff Ward hopes to see a repeat performance from his group, including the Lucic-Ryan-Dube trio.

"They're a good line, they've been a real good line for us this year," said Ward. "They've been talking to each other for a couple of days about how important it was that they start playing in straight lines again. I thought we saw that a lot the other night: pucks were getting in behind their D, Dubes was getting in on the forecheck with his speed, or Looch was coming through and first touching on a couple of pucks there to keep it in.

"You look at Derek Ryan's goal, that's a classic case of how they need to play. Get the puck up the wall, chip it out, great chip by Dubes, Looch is on to it, stops and finds Doc coming late and he buries it. When they're at their best they're playing that way, they had a great game the other night so hopefully it continues here tonight."

 

Video: CGY@VAN: Ryan sneaks wrister home from the circle

 

Dube said they stuck to the basics in order to make their impact.

"I think it was good, it was good for our line," said Dube. "I think we kept it simple, we almost wanted to go in there and just play a hard game and not think of the way it did end up turning out. I think we had a stint there before where our game was simple and that's why we created all our chances. I think we're going to try to do that tonight and stick to straight lines."

Straight lines that create havoc and force the other team to constantly be looking over their shoulder and thinking about how they can exit their zone without causing a turnover.

"I think it's tough for the opposing line when you have Looch breathing down your neck and coming down on the forecheck, and Dubes and I can read of him really well," said Ryan. "I feel like we're connected as a unit, we read off each other well and create a lot off that forecheck. We play simple at our blueline and their blueline, get pucks deep and create a lot off the forecheck."

The key to a repeat outing for them? 

Easy answer, said Dube.

"I think it's simple for us," he explained. "We know what we're doing, we know we have to be the best of our capabilities. Each guy, we all do something different. So we all just have to be our best at doing that."

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