PHILADELPHIA — Maybe there’s something fitting about where the flickering Flames next face off.
Right now, they’re a team that’s not just struggling to win, but in real need of a miracle comeback.
Could the city where Rocky was based be the place the Flames lift themselves off the canvas and — despite being bloody and bruised — punch their way to being a playoff team?
It seems far-fetched, but anything is possible in sports. You don’t need the Hollywood production to make things happen.
Imagine for a moment the Flames somehow finish their five-game road trip with a flurry and upend both the Philadelphia Flyers and Pittsburgh Penguins with consecutive afternoon tilts.
The Flames are willing to.
“It could be the turn-around point,” said defenceman Mark Giordano. “These next two games could be a huge momentum boost. It’s two of the top teams in the Eastern Conference.
“This could be huge for us.”
Yes, it would be huge.
It sure won’t be easy, though.
The Flyers are atop the NHL standings and having a field day of late. They’ve scored 39 goals in their last eight games and tallied five or more times in nine of their 23 outings.
Meanwhile, the Penguins have won four straight games and seven of their last 10.
The first task is daunting enough without looking at the second Pennsylvania team.
Right now, the Flyers are as daunting as Apollo Creed was to Sylvester Stallone’s famous character immortalized near the famous steps at the Philadelphia Museum of Art.
“I’ve watched them play a lot, and their game is a very high-tempo, high-speed, attack-type game, and they have lots of guys who can skate and an abundance of skill up front,” Flames head coach Brent Sutter said.
“Their defence are active guys and (they’re) getting good goaltending. When you accumulate those things together, and when you can score like they’ve been scoring, you can pile up wins.”
The Flames have a long way to climb. They’ve dropped
10 of their last 12 games and are facing a Flyers team with the talent, speed and determination to return to the Stanley Cup final again.
That speed will be on full display at the Wells Fargo Center.
“You can’t get caught sitting on your heels. You’ve got to get after them,” Sutter said of the strategy to contain Philly’s quick snipers.
Most importantly, he said, his players have to believe they can turn their fortunes, which seem grimmer each passing day.
“You can’t get down or negative because the wins haven’t been there. Look at the process with how we’ve come the last four games to how we were playing before. Our consistency has been a lot better,” Sutter said. “Games come fast and furious, and you’ve got to get ready for your next game. When we left New Jersey, it wasn’t a situation where we were disappointed with our play. It was disappointment about the fact we didn’t get two points. We still played pretty good. We have to build off that.”