Eight not so great

RANDY SPORTAK -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 9:07 AM ET

The Calgary Flames' seven-game winning streak is good reason for the city to be excited.

It's the team's longest run since the middle of the 1992-93 campaign, when Theo Fleury Gary Roberts, Joe Nieuwendyk, Sergei Makarov, Robert Reichel, Al MacInnis, Gary Suter and Joel Otto all donned the Flaming C.

But you won't find much celebration in the Flames dressing room, as the team prepares to host the Detroit Red Wings tonight (6:30 p.m., TSN, Fan 960).

"It's not about what we did a week ago or yesterday, it's what we're gonna do against Detroit," said Flames assistant coach Rich Preston, when asked about the streak.

"Besides, I think Detroit kicked our (butts) last time (a 6-3 loss in Motown Oct. 9)."

Preston may not be excited about the streak but, with a win tonight, his charges will set a mark achieved by only two other Calgary Flames squads: The 1988-89 edition, which won eight straight between Jan. 31 to Feb. 15, 1989, and the 1992-93 team, which equalled that run between Dec. 14, 1992 and Jan. 2, 1993.

The franchise record is 10 consecutive wins set between Oct. 14 and Nov. 3, 1978, when the team was located in Atlanta.

However, current Flame Andrew Ference said talking about streaks isn't worth the words.

"To us, it's about climbing the standings," the blueliner said. "You win eight games and you're still tight with everybody. That's just the nature of the beast. It's nice to win, obviously, but you can't get too excited about it or you'll let it slide. Start patting yourself on the back too much and you're one or two games away from getting caught again. It doesn't give you a comfort zone.

"It's just positive to win and see your team making strides getting better. That's more rewarding than a streak or whatever number you put before wins in a row."

Certainly, beating Detroit would make it a great eight. Despite having a payroll slashed in half from their free-spending days of recent past, the Wings are still where they always seem to be, atop the standings with a 15-3-1 mark.

"The key is that nucleus there," said Flames forward -- and former Red Wing -- Darren McCarty. "When your nucleus consists of Lidstrom, Chelios, Yzerman, Shanahan, Draper, Maltby, it's one of those things where they can keep bringing in guys to fill roles."

Jarome Iginla has been exceptional during Calgary's hot streak. The Flames captain literally carried the team on his shoulders during the third period of Monday's 3-2 win over Minnesota. "To be a part of that and watch that is special," McCarty said.


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