CALGARY — There’s an expression about what players experience when they go through a scoring slump.
Squeezing the stick.
“I think I’m past that point,” said Flames left-winger Nigel Dawes, who has a 13-game drought on his resume.
“You start squeezing your stick earlier, in the middle of it, when you’re not getting chances or you’re thinking about it too much.
“I’ve been getting chances, so you have to keep going. You know it’s close when you’re not just getting one or two but three or four opportunities in a game, and quality ones, at that.
“Eventually they have to go in.”
Dawes isn’t alone battling to turn on a red light.
The Flames roster is filled with players who are in a rut, and we’re talking about players who are expected to score on a regular basis.
Dion Phaneuf has no goals in 12 games, while Jay Bouwmeester has none through 29, Jarome Iginla has one goal in 10 outings, Olli Jokinen has scored twice in 17 games, Daymond Langkow netted one in 14 games and David Moss has scored once in 20 games.
“We’ve run into some good goaltending lately and they’ve made big saves,” Dawes said. “But you have to stick with it.”
Power finally in play
After a five-game dry spell, the Flames powerplay hit paydirt against the Pittsburgh Penguins in the 3-1 loss.
Talk about cause for celebration.
Calgary had a zero-for-18 stretch before Mark Giordano tallied, but the team generated all kinds of chances over couple of outings prior to that goal.
“We’re moving the puck well and getting shots,” right winger David Moss said. “Hopefully it’s just a matter we can crack it and get some more.”
The key, Moss said, was going away from trying to make the perfect play.
“That’s happened before this year, when we were looking for the extra pass,” he said.
“When you do that, you start turning more pucks over. Even if the goals aren’t going in right now, it’s one of those things we’ve got to stick with.
“In the long run, that will pay off.”
Get ready to rumble
The Flames may not be winning on the ice, but they have been beating ’em in the alley.
Over the past three games, forward Brandon Prust has been involved in three fights and enforcer Brian McGrattan has been in two scraps.
“It’s an energy boost, and you want to follow it up and make sure each of us are doing what we can commitment-wise, too,” said captain Jarome Iginla.
“They’ve been great for us. The energy boost when you see them laying it on the line like that, against the tougher guys in the league, and doing great. That’s a big part of it.
“When we’re successful, we plan an aggressive, in-your-face kind of game, and they make more room for us. Some of their guys are trying to quiet our guys, and they have to answer to them.”