All's quiet on offensive front

RANDY SPORTAK, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 8:24 AM ET

Apparently, one big problem was solved despite the scoreboard reading a 2-1 loss to the Anaheim Ducks the other day at the Dome.

Defensively, the Calgary Flames believe they're back on track.

Now, they have to start working on the other side of the equation.

That would be scoring goals again.

Having lost four straight as they head into tonight's clash with the Montreal Canadiens, the Flames are in their worst offensive stretch of the season.

The goal scoring depth, arguably the biggest contributor to the success of this season, has disappeared like Michael Phelps' marketing opportunities.

Calgary has only four goals in three games and has failed to score more than three times in each of the last five outings. This is one of the few teams in the league averaging more than three goals per game for the season, but the team-wide scoring touch has suddenly disappeared.

"It's a matter of getting back to work," said right winger David Moss. "When we were successful, we were getting pucks to the net, scoring ugly ones. It seems, for whatever reason, we've gotten away from that."

Moss hasn't scored in six games, but he isn't alone when it comes to struggling to light the lamp.

Captain Jarome Iginla has only one goal in a half-dozen outings and two in 15, while Rene Bourque has one goal in seven games, Matthew Lombardi one in eight and Todd Bertuzzi one in the past five.

Then there are those who haven't turned on a red light in long, long stretches, like Dustin Boyd (15 games), Curtis Glencross (11), Daymond Langkow (nine) and Craig Conroy (nine).

Toss in a losing skid, and you can feel the tension.

"Yeah, when you're winning, all the things come naturally," Moss said. "But when you lose a few like we have, it seems everybody thinks they're pressing more. But when you watch the video, it shows we're not doing things -- moving our feet and getting to the net.

"We've got a good enough group in here we will score, get that confidence back, and start rolling again.

"Last game, I shot one high and wide with five minutes to go. You'd like to hit the net. Earlier in the year, those were going in."

At least nobody's crying the blues about bad luck or bad breaks.

"I just think we're in a little bit of a rut," Bourque said. "Our powerplay is a big part of it ... but as a group, we're not working as hard and skating as well, and I think that's where we get more chances.

"We're turning pucks over at the blueline, and that's taking away scoring chances and hurting our forecheck. We've been pretty good all season playing down low, creating chances and getting shots and rebounds. We're not doing that right now."

Calgary's struggling powerplay is in a 1-for-14 slump on the losing skid.

Don't expect Flames head coach Mike Keenan to change the game plan, though.

He's adamant keeping the defensive side of the game will put his team's offensive game in order.

"Any successful team, any championship team, any team that's had long-term success, learns to build their offence off the defence," Keenan insisted. "When you do that, you're always in great offensive positioning.

"That's how the game of hockey is played well, and once you're committed to it, you'll get your chances."


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