SUN Hockey Pool

Visitors Av extra incentive

RANDY SPORTAK, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 9:06 AM ET

On one hand, the Flames want to experience amnesia in regards to their last visit to the Mile High City.

On the other, they want to remember every moment of that 6-2 loss to the Colorado Avalanche and exact revenge tonight.

Michael Cammalleri certainly showed symptoms of that philosophy.

When that defeat was brought up, the red-hot left winger replied: "I don't remember it. What happened?

"You're not going to have 82 wins and there will be games you don't play as well as you'd like, but the way to look at it is: What do you do? You can worry about it or dwell on it or you can use it as motivation and spin it as a positive. That's what we'll do. We didn't like the effort last time. We're excited to go there again and show them what we are."

The Flames have a couple of other reasons to be at their best against the Avs.

They have a road-heavy stretch of games from now to the end of the regular season, with 20 of 35 outings away from the Saddledome.

Plus, they awoke yesterday only five points back of Detroit for second spot in the Western Conference, with a game in hand and two more meetings with the Red Wings.

The Flames aren't just noticing how far back the rest of the Northwest Division is right now, but how close Detroit -- which has lost five straight -- is ahead of them.

"It gives us a realistic goal and an opportunity," Cammalleri said. "We like the way we're building and elevating our game towards where we want to be. There's nothing wrong with setting goals."

For those doubting the Flames can catch the defending Stanley Cup champs, here's a tidbit to consider: Detroit has only one more victory this season than Calgary.

Then again, it will be tough for the Flames to reel in the Wings unless they start performing on the road the way they have at home.

Cammalleri sees no reason they can't have the same success at home as they do at the Saddledome.

"There's something about that camaraderie from going and winning in other buildings. It's satisfying. That's the attitude we already have, and we'll talk about moving forward," he said.

Of course, there are the fears of complacency settling into the room if the Wings start to pull away and no other Northwest team starts drawing closer.

"Winning begets winning, and once you win, you expect to win," head coach Mike Keenan said. "There's a handful of people still ahead of us -- in our conference, San Jose and Detroit. There's no reason to get complacent. There's no reason to think we can't get better because we have to get better if we want to beat these teams ahead of us."

The infusion of excitement from players like Cammalleri, who's never played in a NHL playoff game, helps.

"I'll tell you, for me it's fun looking at the standings every day," he said. "For the last few years, I didn't want to look at them because you're thinking whether you're out of it already. It's exciting when you're in it. Where we are, it's exciting to look at them and see where we can go.

"It's about how hard we can push it and how high we can go. It's the challenge of that."


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