Finally scoreboard watching hasn’t been a horror show for the Calgary Flames.
The Flames know full well if they run the table over their final six games, they may still need some help to make the playoffs.
That means a team or two stumbling down the stretch.
The Colorado Avalanche, who have a four-point lead on Calgary, have just one win in six outings (1-4-1). The Los Angeles Kings, five ahead of the Flames, had lost four straight (0-3-1) heading into Tuesday night’s game at Nashville.
“Let’s just hope they keep streaking (with loses),” said Flames defenceman Cory Sarich. “We had one of our own this year, and sometimes they’re hard to get out of. I hope it remains that way, but on the flipside, we have to try and win every one of these games.
“That’s our main focus, even though it is pretty hard not to watch what’s going on.
“With a couple of teams scooting away from us, like Detroit, it makes it tough to swallow. But there’s been some upside. We’re still in it, still alive. We have to embrace that and try to put that into some kind of emotion in games when we go out there.”
First and foremost, the Flames can’t afford to slip up in their final half-dozen games, starting with Wednesday night’s home date with the Phoenix Coyotes.
A win over the Desert Dogs combined with a regulation-time Colorado loss to the Anaheim Ducks at the same time, would give the Flames a chance to draw even with Colorado in points when they meet Friday in Denver.
Head coach Brent Sutter has obviously been doing what he can to instill in his charges the importance of being focused on the task at hand.
“We need help, but that help is useless to us unless we take care of our own business,” he said. “That’s why (we) need to focus on the task at hand and do the things we need to do, and see what can happen for us elsewhere.”
Still, seeing another team struggle has to be an emotional boost. Like finally seeing sunshine break through the ominous clouds.
“Definitely. If you’re staying fairly close, it gives you more faith you can do it,” said left winger Niklas Hagman. “We know the numbers. If we win the next game and the next game an the next game, we’d get quite a few points. But you don’t want to start thinking too far ahead. We’ve got Phoenix and that’s a huge game, then after, watch what the other scores are.”
Certainly the Flames can relate to the pressure the Kings and Avalanche players are feeling.
They’ve been in that position when you’re seeing a team in the rearview mirror while struggling.
“They’re thinking, ‘Can we hang on?’ and we want to put doubt in their minds that ‘This team’s coming and they might catch us.’ ” centre Craig Conroy said. “We know they play each other, so we have win our games and hope one of them stumbles. If they both do, that’s good, too.”