SUN Hockey Pool

Nystrom and Co. enjoying road game

RANDY SPORTAK, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 9:19 AM ET

LOS ANGELES -- One game remains on the docket on the longest road trip of the season for the Flames.

At this rate, they may not want to come home.

Tonight's tilt against the Los Angeles Kings is the sixth and final instalment of a sojourn that's seen the Flames win four of the first five.

"We're playing a way we need to play in order to win, and everybody's doing it," said left winger Eric Nystrom. "That's so key. If you know what your linemate's doing and know what everybody's doing, it makes it so much easier to play the game. Right now, that's really been the difference."

Looking back to the start of November, the Flames were beginning a stretch with 13 of 17 road games. They have cobbled together an 11-3-2 mark during that stretch -- curiously, two of the three regulation-time losses were at home -- on the way to boasting the NHL's best road record.

The results have come and it hasn't been easy travels.

Considering how they started a two-game road trip Nov. 21 in Los Angeles before a one-game homestand -- a 2-1 win over the Phoenix Coyotes -- and then headed out the next day for the six-game trip, it feels like they've been on a nine-game trip.

Plus, they've played in all four time zones and made a big loop to and from Los Angeles.

Tough? You bet.

"This is what's going to make us better," Nystrom said. "This is tough, but we're finding ways to win. We're getting the mental part of our games challenged, and so far, we've responded to that. That's a good sign of a good team."

Now, if only the Flames could continue this level of success when they have a home-heavy schedule, as is the case through mid-January.

They have a surprisingly mediocre 7-5-0 record at the Saddledome, so it would benefit the Flames to bring their road game before the Sea of Red.

"I don't like using the world 'road' or 'home' game," head coach Brent Sutter said. "When we're doing these things right, it shouldn't matter where we play.

"Whether it's home or away, this is what we're about."


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