On lookout for letdown

RANDY SPORTAK -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 1:56 PM ET

It's a perfect recipe for a letdown.

The Flames have won eight straight games and are coming off a top-notch, one-sided performance against the league-leading Detroit Red Wings in a contest some said replicated a playoff atmosphere.

Next up is the Chicago Blackhawks, a downtrodden squad wallowing in the bottom tier of the Western Conference.

Calgary may be the hottest club in the NHL but faces as tough a test as any tonight against the 'Hawks (7 p.m., Sportsnet, Fan 960) if complacency sets into the picture.

"That's our responsibility," said captain Jarome Iginla.

"We realize any team can beat anybody. They're a desperate hockey club and aren't happy, I'm sure, with where they're sitting. We know how that feels.

"I'm sure they're looking for a spark. It's on us to be ready to play."

Since the calendar flipped to November, the Flames went from a sub-.500 squad to 12-7-2, thanks to their winning spree.

Should they increase the streak to nine games tonight, the Flames will set a record for the most consecutive wins since relocating to Calgary.

The franchise mark is 10, set in the fall of 1978 when the franchise was in Atlanta.

There may be a buzz in the city about the red-hot squad but Iginla insists there's not much excitement among him and his teammates.

"Maybe at the back of our minds," he said.

"I can only speak for myself but there hasn't been a lot of talk about the streak in our dressing room. That's partly because of where we were when we started the streak but also where we stand.

"It feels good but we don't want to give up any ground the way the standings are.

"(A record) would be great to accomplish and be able to look back on as a group and say we did some good things but it's about winning the next game."

Despite their run, it's not like they've steamrolled the opposition, whom they've outscored by a combined 25-13 count.

Recent games have included a couple of third-period comebacks and late-game heroics.

Plus, the Flames aren't even in first place in the ultra-competitive Northwest Division.

"You look at the standings and they're so tight," said Iginla, who has four goals and six assists in a personal five-game point streak.

"We've managed to move up but there's no breathing room."

The eight-game winning streak isn't the only run on the line.

Calgary also has won eight straight games at the Saddledome, where its record is 9-1-1, and has a chance to complete a second straight perfect four-game homestand.

"We wanted to have a very, very good homestand but I don't know if we were expecting to be going for 8-0," Iginla said. "You don't plan on losing any, because you don't, but we started the homestand without looking at the big picture."


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