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Flames familiar with facing adversity

by Todd Kimberley
CALGARYJarome Iginla has had his back to this wall so often in recent years that he probably knows it brick by brick.

After absorbing a thorough 5-1 beating at the hands of the home-ice Chicago Blackhawks on Saturday night, Iginla and the Calgary Flames face playoff elimination Monday (9:30 p.m. ET, TSN) in Game 6 of this Western Conference Quarterfinal series.

It’s a position that’s become a virtual rite of spring in Calgary. Monday’s contest represents the fifth time that the Flames have played an elimination game since their 2004 run to the Stanley Cup Final.

They’re 1-3 so far, having been shown the door by Anaheim in 2006, Detroit in 2007 and San Jose in 2008 — all in the first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

"For the guys who’ve been through it, yeah, you do draw on previous experiences," Iginla said on Sunday afternoon following the club’s off-ice workout at the Pengrowth Saddledome.

"But right now our focus is one game. We know we slipped up (Saturday). We know we weren’t as committed as we had been, and need to be.

"There’s no time for that, especially now. We’ll be ready."

Loyal members of Flames Nation may lament a 109-second stretch of Saturday’s first period, during which the ’Hawks seized total control, and a 3-0 lead.

Iginla, the Flames’ captain since 2003, issued a brutally frank self-analysis following the game, remarking: "I wasn’t nearly good enough. I was terrible tonight. There’s no excuse for that."

Fourteen hours later, Iginla — second to Olli Jokinen in club scoring this series, with four points — said it was time to move on.

"We have to put it behind us, and we are," he said. "After the game … it’s embarrassing. It’s disappointing. For our fans, we wanted to go in there and have a huge game, and we had a terrible game.

"Today, we’re reloading. It’s just getting ready for tomorrow. It’s gone. It’s 3-2. It’s one game, and it’s our job to make it 3-3."

Left-wing Michael Cammalleri, who’s been held to a single assist in the past three games of this series, is also ready to look forward.

"It’s something you want to park in a way, and move on from," he said. "It’s the past. There’s nothing we can do about it now."

One day after personally taking the blame for his club’s lack of preparation, a visibly angry coach Mike Keenan called out his team Sunday, saying there was more than enough blame to go around following Saturday’s eye-opener.

"The expectations for a Game 5, (on) the teams I've worked with in the past, the expectation was to be prepared to play an NHL game, and to play well, and play as hard as you can play," he said.

"Give us an honest effort."

What should the Flames’ emotional mindset be heading into Game 6, Keenan was asked. Anger? Frustration? Determination?

"I would prefer if you (used) pride," he said. "Play like they’re capable of playing."

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