Time for Flames to buck trend

RANDY SPORTAK, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 9:43 AM ET

The biggest trend this season for the Calgary Flames has been losing.

They’ve done it too often to be a playoff team as it stands today. Most would say they’ve lost too often already this season to have legitimate playoff hopes.

However, there are two trends within their win-loss record — a disappointing 18-20-4 — which jump right out at the eyes.

• A sub-par road record of 7-12-3.

• A middling 4-5-1 mark against Eastern Conference foes.

It’s fun for those of us out west to refer to the Eastern Conference as the junior varsity division, but the 15 teams in that cluster aren’t that bad in comparison to the Western Conference.

But, as a whole, they aren’t that good, either.

Therefore, it’s on the Flames to reverse those trends during their coming four-game road trip, which starts Tuesday in Carolina before hitting all three Eastern Canada NHL cities.

“You can’t worry about those things now,” said defenceman Jay Bouwmeester. “We had a couple of road trips where if we’d won a game or two more, we’d be in a better spot right now, but going into games you don’t think, ‘Man we’re on the road.’

“We’re going into some tough places to play, but you can’t worry about what’s in the past.”

Curiously, what’s staring at them is both daunting and a great opportunity.

Sure, the road hasn’t been kind to the Flames this season, but of the four teams they’ll meet during this trip, only the Montreal Canadiens are in a playoff spot (eighth).

Carolina is boldly fighting to leap back into the top eight, sitting three points back of the Canadiens, while Ottawa and Toronto are both sliding down the standings and venturing into wait-till-next-year country.

“It’s really a big trip,” said Flames captain Jarome Iginla. “We’re down to the second half of the season and we need to make up some ground.

“We know where we are and know how important each game is, but at the same time, it’s not looking at the big picture. We just want to keep playing like we’ve been playing, and if we do that we’ll get our wins. We’re due for another roll here.”

Actually, the Flames must get on a roll and start turning those “strong efforts” into victories in the win-loss column, not just moral victories.

Or else they can expect to see acting GM Jay Feaster start looking to make some trades.

“I don’t think guys are worried about that,” replied forward David Moss. “No matter what team, something can happen, it’s the nature of the business, but I don’t think guys are worried about that now.”

randy.sportak@sunmedia.ca

twitter.com/RandySportak


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