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Offensively challenged Flames welcome Penguins

by Aaron Vickers

CALGARY -- The Edmonton Oilers sure didn't do the Calgary Flames any favors Friday night.

The Oilers turned a late 3-2 deficit into a 4-3 overtime win thanks to goals by Anton Belov and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, snapping Pittsburgh's three-game winning streak in the process.

The Flames know that as a result, they'll be dealing with an ornery Penguins squad when they play host to Pittsburgh at Scotiabank Saddledome on Saturday.

"They're going to be hungry," rookie Sean Monahan said. "They didn't expect to lose that game and in hockey anything can happen so I think they're going to be hungry for a win. But so are we."

With Calgary's recent struggles, coach Bob Hartley's attention is solely on his own bench, though.

"My big belief in coaching is that you focus first on your team and right now, obviously, we know about our scoring and that's what we're focusing [on]," Hartley said. "We talked about Pittsburgh. The players are well aware of what's ahead of us but at the same time, we have to find our own game back and that's where my priority is right now."

The arrival of the Eastern Conference's top team couldn't come at a worse time for the Flames, who have been shut out five times in their past seven games and have won just two of their past 12 games.

The Flames have tried everything to shake their scoring slump, Hartley admitted.

"Trust me, there aren't any more doors on my car. I tried to come in from the good side, the bad side, the trunk," he said. "We're trying all kinds of stuff. That's where we're at, but again, spirit is still good. This is the most important thing and I think it shows what kind of players we have in this dressing room. They care and they want to do it better.

"We just have to turn the red light on right now. The electricity bill over here is not very high right now."

All the Flames need is to catch a break. They haven't found one in a while.

"Breaks happen when things go well," Hartley said. "Usually they say breaks go to people who work hard. Well, I think that the hockey gods might owe us a couple on those. I can't expect luck or breaks to be a difference-maker. You have to keep building, keep going, keep pushing. That's what we're doing."

Monahan has been one of just four Flames to record a goal in Calgary's past seven games and the only player to find the back of the net twice in that same span.

He agrees with Hartley's recipe.

"Scoring goals is hard work so you have to make your own breaks and some goals are luckier and stuff like that but at the end of the day you need to work hard to get the goals," he said.


Mike Cammalleri - Mikael Backlund - Lee Stempniak

Paul Byron - Sean Monahan - Jiri Hudler

Lance Bouma - Matt Stajan - TJ Galiardi

Kevin Westgarth - Joe Colborne - Brian McGrattan

Mark Giordano - TJ Brodie

Ladislav Smid - Dennis Wideman

Chris Butler - Shane O'Brien

Reto Berra

Karri Ramo

Scratched: Derek Smith

Injured: David Jones (eye), Kris Russell (MCL sprain), Curtis Glencross (high ankle sprain), Blair Jones (meniscal tear)


Chris Kunitz - Sidney Crosby - Brian Gibbons

Jussi Jokinen - Evgeni Malkin - James Neal

Tanner Glass - Brandon Sutter - Taylor Pyatt

Craig Adams - Joe Vitale - Deryk Engelland

Rob Scuderi - Kris Letang

Robert Bortuzzo - Brooks Orpik

Olli Maatta - Matt Niskanen

Marc-Andre Fleury

Jeff Zatkoff

Scratched: Simon Despres, Zach Sill

Injured: Chuck Kobasew (lower body) Andrew Ebbett (ankle), Beau Bennett (wrist), Paul Martin (leg), Chris Conner (hand), Pascal Dupuis (knee), Jayson Megna (lower body), Tomas Vokoun (pelvis)

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