Motown massacre rings alarm bells

RANDY SPORTAK -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 9:48 AM ET

To Jarome Iginla, the impact of Sunday's 7-4 defeat to the Detroit Red Wings at the Joe extends beyond just any loss.

"It's a wake-up call for us," said the Calgary Flames captain yesterday.

"We've got to be a lot more determined and be more gritty on the road.

"At home, we're a lot more aggressive, we come out and are in teams' faces but on the road we haven't played the same way.

"A game like that, where we really weren't in it at all, can be that final slap in the face to wake us up."

That means the Flames have no excuses when they hit the ice tonight against the Southeast Division-leading Atlanta Thrashers.

Coming in, the Flames have lost four straight games, two by shootouts, to relinquish their lead in the Northwest Division to the Vancouver Canucks.

Heading into tonight's action, the Flames are in a three-way tie with Vancouver and Minnesota for top spot.

The Canucks hold the edge with two more victories, while Minnesota has played one extra game than the Flames.

Over-riding that Calgary's special teams have been much better over the last couple of weeks is the fact Calgary surrendered third-period leads in the three games preceding the Motor City debacle.

"This is a huge opportunity for us to bounce back," said Craig Conroy.

"This is a playoff game. These are games we need to move forward."

This is a big game not only because the Flames find themselves in a dogfight for the division lead but tonight's game also starts a stretch where the Flames play six of eight games at home.

Because of the team's road woes, the Flames feel the pressure to make hay over the next few weeks and prove the trades that added Brad Stuart, Wayne Primeau and Conroy are steps in the right direction.

"Those standings are tight, there's no room for error," Conroy said.

"We have to do the things we know we can do.

"Last game was awful and we can get the PO'd feeling and it's up to us to say, 'Enough's enough. Let's get it going boys.'

"We've got a great goaltender, a great defence, a good lineup.

"(GM) Darryl (Sutter) is making moves to help this team and now the time has come to give our payback. He's done things to help the team and now we have to do it on the ice."


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