Flames draw on dramatics

RANDY SPORTAK, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 9:05 AM ET

It's hard for the Calgary Flames to forget their last meeting with the Detroit Red Wings.

For starters, it's one of only two wins they've collected in the last 17 days, having dropped five of seven outings.

Also, because it was such an exciting comeback in Detroit 11 days ago. They erased a three-goal deficit, took a late lead only to lose the edge in the final minute and then won 6-5 in a shootout. It was a thriller they're not about to forget.

"I don't think they have, either," said Flames forward Dustin Boyd.

"I'm sure they'll be ready to go."

Makes you wonder how much of that game comes into play tonight when the Flames play host to the Red Wings.

Depends on who you ask.

For the Flames, it can mean a shot of much-needed confidence from the knowledge they can complete a huge comeback against the defending Stanley Cup champs.

For the Red Wings, it can be a source of self-doubt or a source of motivation, with tonight's clash a chance for revenge.

Or it can mean jack squat.

"It's nice to know you have that skill to come back -- on the road, in particular," said Flames head coach Mike Keenan.

"That's a good sign, in terms of the team's mindset, but every game is a new game and every game unfolds differently."

Still, with the way the Flames have choked and wheezed the past couple of weeks and on the heels of blowing a third-period lead to St. Louis Friday, any positive they can hang on to at this time is a good thing.

"Absolutely," said captain Jarome Iginla. "All year, we've played tight games, overtime games, and been able to come back in their building. You respect them, they're battling for the Presidents' Trophy and are a good team, but from our point of view, we've played right with them.

"We know in order to win and get where we want to go, it's a good chance we'll have to go through Detroit, so any time you can draw on some good things against them and bring it up later, it's big."

Right now, the Flames could use some "bigs" in their game.

A return to winning ways means beating a Detroit team that's yet again in the mix for top spot in the league. Therefore, the Flames need big performances in all areas of their game tonight.

Besides, it's hard to imagine the Red Wings, who have won four straight, won't be looking for a hint of vengeance.

"They remember tough losses, as do we, as a team and it wasn't that long ago, so they remember," said defenceman Robyn Regehr.

"But you have to remember, this is a team at the top of the league, so they're driven to play well any way. I don't think they need any motivation, whatsoever.

"So we have to make sure we're at our best."

Boyd pointed out, however, the Flames have their own reason for retribution against the Red Wings.

"They've beaten us quite a few times," he said. "If a team needs revenge, I think it would be us."

Maybe facing the Red Wings is the kind of challenge the Flames need. After all, they talked about lacking urgency after losing to the Blues.

Certainly the Red Wings do mean a little more adversity for the Flames to cope with.


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