Getting out of town might be the best thing for the Calgary Flames right now.
Forget the public outcry sure to take place over their leapfrogging for the H1N1 flu shot, the Flames need another sort of shot in the arm after essentially falling asleep at the end of a five-game homestand that lasted nearly three weeks.
It started well, with the Flames winning the first three games and taking advantage of oodles of off-days to either rest or to practise the system head coach Brent Sutter has installed.
But losing their last two in rather listless fashion might be a sign they need to get into a rhythm.
"In one sense, it might be a good thing," Sutter said of the 10 road games out of 14 November contests.
"Two things happen (when you're at home with so much time between games). The positive is you have an opportunity to work on things and do a lot of good things in practice.
"The negative is you get to see some things, too, when you get into those games. I've seen some things here -- especially in the last couple of games -- we obviously don't like."
Turnovers in the neutral zone proved costly in a 3-1 loss the Detroit Red Wings Saturday night.
A serious breakdown also led to the winning goal for the Colorado Avalanche earlier last week.
Starting tonight with the first of back-to-back games in Dallas and St. Louis, the Flames will have an opportunity to find a rhythm on the road.
"We're looking forward to it and looking forward to playing every second night," said utility forward Dustin Boyd, who had an especially long homestand while sitting out nearly a week with the flu.
"We've had a lot of practices lately," said winger Curtis Glencross, who was part of a gruelling session that put the Flames through their paces Monday. "Sometimes you get a little rusty, too. It's a pretty tough schedule for us, so it'll be good to get going again."
It could also be the kiss of death if the team doesn't get its game together.
Three back-to-backs all on the road this month could be problematic if the team insists on giving backup goaltender Curtis McElhinney starts and continuing to play poorly in front of him.
Home games are against some of the league's hottest teams -- the New York Rangers, the Colorado Avalanche, the Chicago Blackhawks and the Phoenix Coyotes -- and offer no relief from the road if things go poorly in their first extended efforts away from the Saddledome.
But the players are looking forward to the road for more than just a respite from the heated scrutiny back home.
They want to grow closer as a team.
"It'll be good. We've been home for 21/2 weeks -- it seems like the only time we see each other is around the rink," Glencross said.
"It'll be nice to get on the road and have some dinner with the guys and go out and have everyone together, kind of get a little tighter."
Bonding, says Sutter, is one of the most important aspects of time on the road.
And it's one of the key elements of becoming a better team.
"You're a good team on the ice because you're good off the ice," Sutter added. "You care about each other off the ice -- that'll translate onto the ice."