For a team that says it's in need of no added motivation, the Calgary Flames sure have plenty with the Edmonton Oilers coming to town.
The last Battle of Alberta -- a 5-0 loss at Rexall Place Monday -- was a dismal showing for the Flames, and redemption is on everybody's mind in the Stampede City before tonight's rematch at the Saddledome (5 p.m., CBC).
"It's nice that we get a chance to play them within the same week. A chance to redeem ourselves," Jarome Iginla said yesterday after a practice at the Westside Rec Centre.
"It was one of our worst games that we've played in a couple of years. It was that bad."
Giving little defensive support to Curtis Joseph in his first start as a Flame in the embarrassing loss was just the tip of the iceberg.
No goals, no success on special teams, and no physical presence were also ingredients in the downfall.
"Every part of our game was bad that day," said Iginla.
No discipline, either, as the pesky Zack Stortini aggravated everyone on the night -- dropping the gloves with both Robyn Regehr and Cory Sarich, and leading to Eric Godard's frustrated finish as he socked three different Oilers, including goalie Mathieu Garon, en route to earning a one-game suspension for his third game misconduct.
"We have enough guys who can take care of a guy like that. He shouldn't be the reason for us to take stupid penalties or get away from our game plan," said defenceman Anders Eriksson of Stortini's antics. "If we do that, he's succeeded. That's what they want."
The Flames need to be physical to be successful, but not as a reaction to what the other team is doing.
"We do initiate it more in the third, and teams get a little more taken back by it. That's something that if you do early in the game, you can really give it to teams, too," said defenceman Adrian Aucoin.
"You look at the teams that play a physical game early, they usually have the upper hand."
Eriksson, isn't worried about getting off to a better start in the rematch -- the Flames trailed 2-0 after 20 minutes in Monday's loss -- but energetic starts haven't exactly been common at the Saddledome this season.
That'll have to change to stifle the youthful and suddenly gritty Oilers.
"Obviously, we came out flat in Edmonton, but they're coming into our territory," said Eriksson, adding the Flames will use the 5-0 drubbing as motivation.
"We get to set the tone."
Having the last loss in the Battle of Alberta so fresh in their minds is a good thing, Aucoin said.
"I think it'll be beneficial to us," he said.
"I can't stress enough that every game is huge for us, especially with the way the race is now, but just because that was by far our worst game of the year, I think we're going to be a little better."