Double dip perfect fit

RANDY SPORTAK -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 8:36 AM ET

CHICAGO -- Let's play two.

It's fitting the Calgary Flames are off in The Windy City for consecutive games.

After all, it's the town where Mr. Cub, Ernie Banks, uttered the famous phrase before taking Wrigley Field.

Thanks to the computer known as the NHL schedulemaker, Calgary will meet the Blackhawks at the United Center both tonight and Sunday.

"It's not bad. It's different," said Flames captain Jarome Iginla. "It doesn't really change your mindset. The first game you try to win and the second game you know there will be adjustments.

"Whichever team didn't get what they want in the first game comes out a little more hungry and a little more desperate.

"It's a good challenge."

This is the third time the Flames will skate in a two-game series but it's the first opportunity they'll have to unpack luggage in the hotel.

They've twice swept the Canucks in back-to-back meetings. The first was at home and the second saw the games on either side of Christmas.

"The first one is like playing another NHL regular season game but then it shifts over because you have a chance to build a rivalry against lines, against d-men," Iginla said. "It's kinda fun with the matchups."

It's also a golden chance for the Flames to clear some space between themselves and the rest of the pack in the closely contested Northwest Division standings.

Beginning tonight, the Flames have four straight against the three teams at the bottom of the conference standings, with their road swing ending in St. Louis before they return home to face Columbus.

Four consecutive wins would go a long way in the race for a division title.

"We don't look at the big picture," Iginla said. "We have to focus on beating Chicago, who beat us at home the first time and the other game was tough, (a 3-2 win).

"We don't look at the standings that way because both teams want to win those games. Where they are in the standings isn't important to us during the game."

That's the message Darren McCarty plans to harp on before tonight's puck drop.

"Just because they're at the bottom doesn't mean they don't compete," McCarty said. "Every team can win any night, it's true.

"Now, if we bring our 'A' game -- bring our game all together -- we expect to win. We expect to beat any team -- Detroit, Nashville, Ottawa, all the top teams, when we do that.

"We have some payback to give Chicago for beating us in our rink, they took two points from us, so we want to win the first game.

"We'll worry about the next one then."

Of course, facing the league's weaker sides can bring out a sub-par effort but having been thumped last outing in Colorado, McCarty said, may be the right spark to ensure he and his teammates bring that 'A' game.

"You're going to see a great effort from us," he vowed. "Getting embarrassed like we did (Tuesday) night sorta refocuses you. Our attention to detail will be much better."


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