Flames' situation nothing new to Staios

WES GILBERTSON, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 6:36 PM ET

Different city, same ol’ scenario.

He’s now earning his paycheques at the Saddledome after eight seasons with the arch-rival Edmonton Oilers, but stay-at-home rearguard Steve Staios is certainly accustomed to life on the NHL’s playoff bubble.

“Other than new faces and new teammates, this situation — I’ve been here before,” Staios said. “I know this feeling.”

Perhaps better than anybody on his current team.

Heading into Friday’s showdown with the San Jose Sharks at the Saddledome, the Flames are sitting one point behind the Detroit Red Wings for the eighth and final playoff seed in the Western Conference.

While the Flames have been a playoff team for five consecutive seasons, Staios has plenty of experience on both sides of the magic line.

During the 2005-06 campaign, the Oilers barely hung on to the eighth spot in the West but eventually toppled the Red Wings, San Jose Sharks and Anaheim Ducks and came within one victory of hoisting the Stanley Cup.

Two years later, the Oilers won 13 of their final 19 games to climb into the thick of things, only to miss out on a post-season invite by three points.

With a dozen games left on the schedule, some pundits are predicting the Flames will need a similar stretch this spring to move into the Western Conference’s elite eight.

“That was a pretty special run we went on,” Staios recalled. “It’s just the idea of saving your energy, building up to the game and being fresh and ready to go with no inhibitions. You have to be able to play responsibly but also have the sense to go out there and try to make plays.

“We had a really young team at that point with not a lot to lose. It’s a different situation here, but a lot of similar circumstances.”

With the Oilers in rebuilding mode, a historic swap brought Staios south to Calgary at the trade deadline.

The 36-year-old is doing his part to help the Flames climb into a playoff spot. He could use a bit of help from his old friends, too.

Edmonton hosts the Red Wings Friday and Staios admitted he sent a text message to Oilers captain Ethan Moreau “making sure he’d be ready for the game.”

“It’s tough not to watch what other teams around us are doing right now, but the focus still has to be on us and how we prepare,” Staios said. “I think you can use up a lot of energy looking at the standings. You can get frustrated or get excited about something that other teams are doing when we really have to concentrate on what we’re doing.

“But I did send out a friendly reminder that would be a big win for the Oilers for us.”


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