Offence firing blanks

RANDY SPORTAK, CALGARY SUN

, Last Updated: 10:54 AM ET

With a half shrug and a near chuckle, Darryl Sutter summed it up.

"Geez," said the Flames GM/head coach. "We just couldn't finish."

Call it a running theme of late. For the third straight outing -- all loses -- the Calgary Flames attack looked more pop gun than Tommy gun.

In a season where teams rack up four goals a game with regularity, the Flames have amassed that total in their last three contests combined, a spell in which they've lost twice in shootouts plus last night's 3-1 defeat to the Vancouver Canucks.

Nobody expects them to be an offensive juggernaut, with a run-and-gun attack to rival the great squads of yesteryear, but the recent spell is on the other side of the spectrum.

"We've got to be more confident," said Kristian Huselius. "We've got a great team here and should play with confidence but I don't think we're doing that when we get the chances to score."

The team-wide slump -- they were also blanked by the Chicago Blackhawks just over a week ago -- is surprising in the sense it's not from a lack of chances.

The shot clocks in that trio of defeats reads on average 30-20 in Calgary's favour, so it's not a case of creating opportunities.

It's a case of making the most of them.

"I don't think we're hanging on for the perfect shot," said Jarome Iginla, the one Flame who put a puck past Alex Auld last night. "We're getting opportunities but sometimes when you're in a rut offensively, you've just got to create a few more.

"Then, when one or two go in, everybody's feeling better. It's kinda like an individual (slump). You just stick with it, know it's gonna break and then everybody will start to feel better."

Which means goals not only coming from golden chances but also of the flukey variety, said Andrew Ference.

"Every shot is a quality shot because it leads to rebounds," he explained. "When guys are going good, they're crashing the net and picking those up."


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