Blast from the past

STEVE MACFARLANE -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 12:49 PM ET

Responses among players in the Calgary Flames dressing room when mentioning their five-game winning streak are predictable.

A shrug or dismissive comment is about all you'll get from the squad focused solely on extending its current collection of consecutive wins against the visiting Colorado Avalanche tonight at the Saddledome.

Remind them how long it's been since the franchise had a streak that took every digit on one hand to count and the reaction is different, although the shock is just as universal.

Captain Jarome Iginla was a rookie the last time the Flames managed to string together five straight wins in February 1997.

"I actually remember the last one. It was nice," said Iginla yesterday. "That was my first year in the NHL. It was fun. It's hard to believe it was that long ago but it's a tough league. Every game is hard. Every team has a chance to win on any night."

Defenceman Jordan Leopold was feeling his age after learning the news.

"I was still in high school, so I guess that makes me older than I really think I am," said Leopold with a chuckle. "It seems like a long time."

One more win will equal the franchise's last six-game stretch-- in February 1994. Another three consecutive victories will match Cal- gary's benchmark of eight straight, which was achieved twice (December 1992-January 1993 and January-February 1989).

For the record, the franchise-best streak of 10 was set by the old Atlanta Flames in the fall of 1978.

Calgary Flames winger Jason Wiemer, who is enjoying his second stint with the team, was also surprised the last significant streak was so long ago.

The new one is all that matters, though.

"It was needed," said Wiemer. "After the start we got off to, we needed to start playing better and string some wins together just to get back in the race.

"Now that we've won five in a row, we've kind of put ourselves back in the race. Now we have to kind of wash that aside -- that's where we should be. Now we can work on where we want to be."

Rearguard Robyn Regehr, whose return to the lineup has helped the club get off to a great start to the month of November, said the streak doesn't yet make up for the team's terrible start this season.

"We struggled on the road at the start of the season and our record is still very sub-par on the road," said Regehr. "That's something we have to continue to work on.

"We opened up on the road a lot in October. This month, being at home for the majority of the games, I think everyone in this dressing room knew that we're going to have to have a good month."

They're off to a great start, taking home games against Minnesota and Columbus, then back-to-back wins against Vancouver before Thursday's road victory in Phoenix.

With another four games at the 'Dome before having to board another plane, the Flames have an opportunity to make up some ground in the competitive Western Conference.

Iginla says the future is much more important than the streak.

"We're not patting ourselves on the back. To be honest, it hasn't really come up in our room," said Iginla. "We've been pretty focused."

The Flames sniper, who has four goals and two assists over the last five games, will admit there are some obvious positives to pull from their recent success.

"We've played some very good teams," admitted Iginla. "There's a lot of positive things but we've got to keep it going.

"We want to keep climbing the standings. Now we're at home and can make this November a great month."

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MEMORY LANE

Iginla was a rookie the last time Flames won five in a row

REMEMBERING 1997

Feb. 7 -- 5-2 win over Washington

Feb. 9 -- 6-1 win over Anaheim

Feb. 11 -- 5-1 win over Boston

Feb. 13 -- 3-2 (OT) win over Edmonton

Feb. 15 -- 3-0 win over Toronto

* Feb. 18 -- 5-5 tie with Buffalo snapped streak

THAT'S WHO!

Notable Flames players at the time were Theo Fleury, German Titov, Cory Stillman, Trevor Kidd, Dave Gagner and Jonas Hoglund.

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HIGH 5

Nov. 1 -- 3-0 win

Nov. 3 -- 2-1 win

Nov. 5 -- 1-0 win

Nov. 7 -- 4-3 win

Nov. 10 -- 4-3 win


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