Little things big problem

RANDY SPORTAK, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 8:40 AM ET

DALLAS -- When the Calgary Flames hit the road Super Bowl Sunday, their record when scoring first was top-10 worthy.

At 17-3-3, it wasn't perfect, but it still showed a positive sign.

They threw that trend out the window in a big way on a very unsuccessful road trip through Colorado and Texas.

Both games, the Flames lit the lamp first. Early, too.

Both games, they left town in defeat. So much for being a tight defensive squad.

"I don't think there's any answers for it. It happens," said Flames forward Todd Bertuzzi. "It's a long season. Our goaltender's been outstanding, but tonight's a night offensively we didn't get it done.

"It's important for the top two lines who are put in the situations to get it done, and plain and simple, we didn't put the puck in the net enough."

Against the Dallas Stars last night, one goal wasn't enough because the hosts scored twice with the man-advantage and the Flames weren't able to match.

In Denver, though, they were nowhere near being strong enough defensively.

It was almost as if they expected the Colorado Avalanche to collectively roll over.

The Stars wouldn't even let the Flames back in after taking the lead.

"We were working hard but not as smart as we could have been," said Flames defenceman Cory Sarich. "Give some credit to their goaltender, he made a lot of good saves, and give some credit to ours, too. There are a few areas we need to sharpen up mentally.

"On the two powerplay goals, myself and Dion (Phaneuf) probably didn't make the best decisions on those couple of goals. It's little things. This time of year, you have to be sharp in all those areas."

Pin it more on a lack of focus, not assuming teams will concede to a club just because it's atop the Northwest Division.

"We weren't taking anything for granted," Sarich said. "It's not making the best plays. There's better plays to be made, and maybe that will prevent some goals and we can make a few better plays -- generate some offence.

"We've spent too much time in our end the last couple of games, and that comes down to sticking to our system. We have to tighten that up a bit."


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