'Dome could be key to quick start

STEVE MACFARLANE -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 8:22 AM ET

The Calgary Flames haven't started a season in the friendly confines of the Saddledome since 2002.

Not that the players will blame their poor record in October the past couple of seasons on starting away from Calgary, but there's definitely a different energy as they get ready to open the 2007-08 campaign in town looking to win a season-opener for the first time since 2001-02.

"I think it's something we'll try and use to our advantage," said winger Jarome Iginla. "Every team talks about wanting to get off to a fast start, and not every team is going to. If it's going to be us, we're going to have to play very well. We're going to have to bring our game up from where it's been."

The post-lockout Flames are 7-13-3 in the month of October and would love a victory to get them off on the right skate this time around. The energy is expected to be different with the fans and players experiencing first-game emotions at the same time rather than the faithful having to watch their team battle on the road before making a home debut.

"I think there's a little bit of a difference," said Iginla. "When you're on the road (to start the season) and the fans have already watched a game, it's different than the first one, getting to watch it live. And it's our first one, so we're all going through it -- the emotions are a little higher, probably, and I think that's a positive."

But there may actually be more distractions at home, and head coach Mike Keenan is well aware of them.

"Your job as a coach is to try to eliminate the distractions," said Keenan. "And keep them as focused as possible, yet enjoy the experience of what that involves."


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