VANCOUVER - An embarrassing loss to the rival Edmonton Oilers was a wake-up call to the reeling Calgary Flames.
Since a lopsided 8-2 defeat to Edmonton on Wednesday, Calgary fought hard in a 2-1 decision to the San Jose Sharks on Friday before outshooting the Vancouver Canucks 38-22 on Saturday, despite losing its fifth straight.
The final score of 5-2 may have been flattering for the Canucks as the Flames (13-20-4) enjoyed plenty of puck possession in their offensive zone. Unfortunately for Calgary, Vancouver goalie Cory Schneider was superb.
"Definitely after the Edmonton game at home, we just aired some things out and said what was on everybody's mind," said right-winger Lee Stempniak. "I think that game against Edmonton was one of the most embarrassing games I've been a part of as a team.
"I think no matter what the situations, we've got to play hard."
The Flames still have lots of fight in them, despite sitting second-last in the Western Conference.
"No one's going to feel sorry for us and everyone's got something to prove," said Stempniak. "Whether you're playing for your next contract or trying to establish yourself in the league or get a bigger opportunity for next year, everyone's got eyes on them and everyone's got to play harder and play better and really take advantage of the opportunity and I think we've been doing a better job."
Although defenceman Mark Giordano was pleased with the effort on Saturday, he held himself accountable for some of Vancouver's goals.
"I made a few bad reads and it cost us goals tonight," said Giordano. "And I know a few of the other (goals) were from mistakes, but we generated a lot tonight.
"We played hard, the effort was in no question tonight, we played hard, we just (need to make) better decisions, and that includes me."
Because Calgary doesn't have a captain after Jarome Iginla was traded to Pittsburgh, there is a bigger demand for leadership from alternate captains Giordano and Mike Cammalleri.
"I think it's on lot of guys, not just me and Cammy," said Giordano. "There's a lot of older guys in this room, and again Cammy's been great, he played another solid game but I think I can play better and I think leadership is more of an on-the-ice thing.
Added Cammalleri: "I don't think so, we're just being ourselves, a lot of guys lead in a lot of different ways so I don't think anybody wants us to change anything about the way we are, we'll just be ourselves."