SUN Hockey Pool

Right now, we all need to be better: Iginla

IAN BUSBY, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 8:25 AM ET

Trying to pinpoint what went wrong during a scoreless two-game road trip, Calgary Flames captain Jarome Iginla couldn't pick one thing.

It's everything, or more specifically, every player.

"If you look through our lineup -- every one of us -- we all need to be better," Iginla said yesterday following a 5-0 loss to Columbus Thursday and a 2-0 defeat to Pittsburgh Wednesday.

"You don't always say that. Sometimes, half the team could be going really well.

"Right now, we all need to be better. It's time to look at ourselves. We all bring different things.

"From my point of view, I want to make sure I'm skating well, being physical and getting to the net. Most importantly, I want to be hitting the net. Those are things I can concentrate on.

"Other guys have different things to work on. We can't say it was one game where we didn't finish our chances. We need to bring our game up, and we plan on doing that against Minnesota."

The Minnesota Wild just might be the tonic for the Flames tonight at the Dome (8 p.m., CBC). In the past 16 visits to Calgary, the Wild have a woeful 1-13-2 record.

However, the Flames have three wins in their past 10 games as the Vancouver Canucks have cut into the division lead.

As the cushion shrinks, the Flames have become more tense. It's to the point where centre Craig Conroy is hoping for someone to do something outrageous before game time to break the tension.

"We're disappointed in the way we're playing," Conroy said. "Then one meeting is turning into three or five meetings.

"We have so much on our minds going into the game, thinking we have to do this and we have to do that. That's the most stressful.

"Your mind is consumed before the game. We're not joking around and having a good time. It's pretty tense in that room, and we have to relax a little bit."

When the big guns aren't scoring, it's tough to win.

Michael Cammalleri has just two goals in 10 games. Newcomer Olli Jokinen is scoreless in five outings. Iginla has one tally in eight games.

But Cammalleri isn't panicking yet.

"We need to drive while we're in the driver's seat. We woke up (yesterday) in first place and we'll wake up (today) in first place," Cammalleri said. "Having said that, we need to find the urgency, want and desire.

"We're trying to find a balance between a level of desperation and still playing loose with some confidence. We're searching for that in the last couple games."

Losing isn't enjoyable, and the Flames need a bit of fun right now. Where or how that will happen is anyone's guess, but the tension is contagious.

"We're squeezing our sticks a little bit," said Cory Sarich. "We're looking for hits instead of making plays. There has to be a balance of both.

"It's not that the guys don't want to win, because we do. We're letting things get in our road and our play isn't loose the way it has been.

"It's really uptight and you can't play hockey that way."


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