SUN Hockey Pool

Finding a way to get it done

STEVE MACFARLANE -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 11:09 AM ET

LOS ANGELES -- Finding a way to win close games is what good teams do.

Even when the game is their second in as many nights, two time zones apart.

That's what the Calgary Flames did Sunday night in Los Angeles after losing a similarly tight battle Saturday in Dallas.

When Chris Simon scored his second powerplay goal of the night with less than 30 seconds left in regulation to give his team a 3-2 win, you could almost hear the sigh of relief from the Flames bench. After the cries of jubilation, of course.

It was, after all, just their second win away from the confines of the Saddledome.

Players such as Simon will be depended upon continuously to step up their games for the Flames to be successful on any given night. Whether it's Shean Donovan, Steve Reinprecht or Daymond Langkow supplying the spark.

With the weight of the world -- or at least the Stampede City -- seemingly on their shoulders, the Flames have struggled to find their stride as a team and as individuals.

But they're getting there.

On paper, it's a better team than the one that was a controversial non-goal away from winning hockey's Holy Grail in 2004 but the Flames got off to a 3-5-1 start before edging back toward .500.

The Flames players are starting to remember how tough it is to be at your best in a league stocked with talented players. Simon, whose timely goals Sunday helped the Flames overcome a 2-0 first-period deficit to win for just the second time after trailing heading into the first intermission, rediscovered his snapshot and placed both his snipes accurately into the top of the cage and away from Kings goalie Mathieu Garon.

Jarome Iginla, a traditional slow starter who has been called out by fans and coaches alike early in the new season, was a driving force on the ice. He shot the puck seven times and missed the net just twice.

The powerplay, thanks to Simon and setups from Andrew Ference and Stephane Yelle, improved.

Yelle, Marcus Nilson, Jordan Leopold and Rhett Warrener also spent a lot of time killing penalties.

Nilson was even awarded a penalty shot while killing Langkow's four-minute roughing penalty in the third period. Garon turned away the Swede's breakaway effort but even a missed penalty shot is something of an adrenalin boost when the score is tied and there are a little more than a dozen minutes remaining.

The team was off yesterday prior to tomorrow's tilt in Anaheim. If they spent their time reflecting on the weekend, it should bring a smile to their faces.


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