SUN Hockey Pool

Flames not giving out treats

WES GILBERTSON, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 9:54 AM ET

It is, by coincidence, billed as the scariest night of the year.

Regardless of the date, though, the Calgary Flames want their foes to feel like every trip to the Saddledome is Fright Night.

"It's important to be a really good home team, to make it so they look at the schedule and the other team is already thinking 'Oh man, that's going to be a tough night,' and to try to get in their heads early with your record and previous success against them," said Flames captain Jarome Iginla.

"It's important to be able to build momentum at home for when you go on the road. And if you look at the best teams around the league -- you look at playoff teams -- they have good home records, and we want to keep building on ours."

While thousands of youngsters will likely be making their Halloween rounds dressed up as future Flames, the current crop of hockey heroes would love to put a scare into the Detroit Red Wings tonight at the Saddledome (8 p.m., CBC).

Through seven home dates, including Wednesday's loss to the Colorado Avalanche, the Flames have amassed a 5-2 record in Calgary. You can expect the hosts to stick with the same ol' tricks and treats tonight -- an aggressive forecheck and in-your-face style, plus the support of the typically boisterous Sea of Red.

A quick start wouldn't hurt, either.

Of the Flames' 42 markers so far this season, 20 have been scored in the first period. Iginla and Olli Jokinen each rippled the mesh in the opening 70 seconds against the Avalanche -- setting a franchise record for the fastest two goals to start a game on home ice.

"Part of that home reputation and making this a hard place to play is to come out early -- to dictate the play, to put a team on their heels ..." Iginla said. "Usually, for whatever reason, it's really important as a visiting team to come out of the first period tied or better, but as a home team, we make it our goal to be better than that.

"It's important -- you're at home, you have your fans behind you, you have that energy and you want to use that early in the game."

The Red Wings have traditionally been a spooky opponent away from Hockeytown USA. Their two dozen wins and 53 points on the road last season were both league-highs. And the Wings were even better two winters ago, racking up a 25-12-4 regular-season road record and winning seven post-season games in enemy territory en route to a Stanley Cup title.

They haven't been nearly as successful so far this campaign. After a shootout setback two nights ago in Edmonton, the Red Wings own a 1-3-2 mark away from the Joe Louis Arena.

The Flames want to ensure the road doesn't seem any smoother tonight at the Dome.

"It's a tough place for guys to play, to come into a Canadian city and with the great fan support we've got to back us up," said Flames winger Curtis Glencross. "We've got to have that mentality and have that name for ourselves that when you come into our barn, it's not going to be an easy night. That's an identity that we want to have."

WES.GILBERTSON@SUNMEDIA.CA


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