Games for Christmas

RANDY SPORTAK -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 1:03 PM ET

Christmas came early this year for the Flames.

We're not talking about their strong record heading into tonight's clash with the Boston Bruins or any additional players such as a first-line centre.

Their week-long break between games -- which is now over -- is pretty much all the time which could be set aside for holiday festivities.

"We'll get a day at Christmas but it was nice," said Darren McCarty. "It did us a world of good, especially with all the games ahead of us."

There's always a price to be paid for R 'n' R and for the Flames it'll be a rash of contests in the very near future.

Starting with tonight's tilt, they play four games in seven days.

That begins a stretch of nine clashes in 17 nights.

Aside from the rest and a chance to actually do some Christmas shopping, McCarty sees a real benefit to the break he and his teammates have just concluded.

It came at a near-perfect time to split the season into three nearly equal increments.

Having put 31 clashes in the books, the Flames have 26 games scheduled in 56 days leading up to the Olympic break.

After the Turin games, they conclude with 25 final outings before what they hope will be a long playoff run.

"That helps. If you look at 82 games, it's forever. But if you break it down into segments it makes it easier to focus on the job," he explained.

"Right now, we're breaking it into two home games and two divisional games in the next week."

After facing the Bruins, the Flames travel to Edmonton, return home for a date with Los Angeles and then visit Vancouver before Santa comes calling.

They go into this coming stretch a whole lot healthier than when they finished beating the Ottawa Senators a week ago.

"Mentally, physically, you could tell guys are rejuvenated," McCarty said.


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