De-crease in dirty work

STEVE MACFARLANE, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 9:25 AM ET

Barking out his specific order during a stoppage early in yesterday's practice session, Brent Sutter could be heard clear across the Saddledome.

"Somebody get on top of the (expletive) goaltender," instructed the head coach. "The goalie can see too much."

Knowing his charges will play how they practise, Sutter made sure they gave it all they had yesterday.

They'll have to do the same against Vancouver Canucks star netminder Roberto Luongo tonight.

"We kind of got away from it as a team," admitted centre Daymond Langkow, who was once an immovable force in front of the blue paint.

"We just need to do it more."

Sutter wants to see some ugly goals -- if you can consider any puck that crosses the line ugly.

Most of them are. The Flames head coach pointed to TSN's Top 10 as an example when discussing highlight-reel goals and those dubbed garbage variety.

"There's only 10 of them, and how many games, how many goals are scored through that week?" Sutter said.

"You've got to go in tough areas to score goals. We're not doing that. We need to do that.

"We've got to have a junkyard dog mentality. We haven't done it consistently enough."

Langkow frustrated

If people were betting on who would own the worst plus/minus rating on the team, Daymond Langkow would be at the bottom of the list.

Surprisingly, he's at the bottom of the league with a minus-9.

Admittedly frustrated and feeling guilty about his play, Langkow's recent swoon isn't a big concern to his coach.

Brent Sutter says they've talked about the slump he's been in since a disappointing effort against the Dallas Stars that left he and his linemates minus-3 on the night.

"It affected him. It bothered him," Sutter said. "When it did that, it's bothered his game the last couple of games.

"I don't worry too much about Daymond because he's got such a great understanding of the game."

Sutter split up that trio for a time, but has Langkow, Rene Bourque and Nigel Dawes back together for tonight's contest.

"I really felt that the three of them needed to distance themselves for a game," Sutter said of the line that had been the Flames' most consistent through the first four games.

"Just to re-energize."

Third line a charm?

Some might consider it a demotion, dropping from Jarome Iginla's side to what has to be considered the third line.

But Olli Jokinen's new linemate Eric Nystrom is excited about the potential scoring their trio may be able to put forward tonight.

"Olli's a great player. He's fast, he's big. I'm looking forward to getting a chance to play with him. I think we'll complement each other well," Nystrom said, adding he and linemate Fredrik Sjostrom are up to the challenge.

"Freddie's a strong player. I think we can really cycle it in the offensive zone and create some chances.

"They're trying to find some chemistry -- and you can't force that. Some guys just play better with other guys. Some styles suit other players.

"We'll see how it goes."


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