PITTSBURGH -- No rest for the weary.
The Calgary Flames have finished five games in less than seven full days, but now return to the Stampede City for a brief two-game homestand and another run of four games in six days, three against division rivals.
"We have a busy week again. It's a long flight but we have to get ready again. I have to get ready," said goalie Miika Kiprusoff.
By no means can the Flames say their five-game road trip was a success.
They ended up with one victory, a pair of extra-time losses and two regulation-time defeats to sit at 9-12-2 and 14th in the Western Conference.
Their 4-1 loss at the hands of the Pittsburgh Penguins ended the trip on a down note, so it will be curious how they head into Monday's clash with the Minnesota Wild.
Did the Penguins loss take the wind out of their sails or will how they performed in the first four games -- which a case can be made they deserved to win them all -- be something to build upon?
"We did get points in three games and we did deserve better than that. We were doing good things, playing well as a team," defenceman Mark Giordano said. "We know we have to get on a roll here and start piling up some wins."
After playing host to the Wild and Vancouver Canucks, the Flames head out on the road for games at Minnesota and Chicago.
It doesn't ease up from that point, either. After facing the Blackhawks, they return home for a clash with the Tampa Bay Lightning and then immediately head to Southern California for games against the Los Angeles Kings and Anaheim Ducks on consecutive nights.
From the Nov. 17 home date with Phoenix through that Ducks game Dec. 10, the Flames will have played 14 games in 24 days in all four of the NHL's time zones.
They failed to fight through the fatigue against the Penguins, but head coach Brent Sutter knows his team must find a way to get through it.
"We have to get our level of game back up. If we don't have the emotion or intensity, our level isn't very good.
"We need to get that back in a hurry."