And now for the rest for Flames

STEVE MACFARLANE, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 8:36 PM ET

The victory was massive.

The day off that followed might have been even more important going forward.

Beating the Dallas Stars 4-2 Wednesday night, the Calgary Flames joined a five-way tie for fourth place in the Western Conference standings.

It might not last long with every other team in the conference holding games in hand over them, but they’ll make sure they’re rested and ready to go for Sunday’s Heritage Classic at McMahon Stadium.

The team took Thursday off — their third recovery day since Saturday — to spend time with family and rest their bodies.

“I’ll sleep till I wake up,” defenceman Mark Giordano said after earning an assist and blocking five shots Wednesday night. “I won’t be setting any alarms, that’s for sure.”

Deserving of some extra time in bed after a stretch of four games in six nights — three of them wins — the Flames can be proud of how well they’ve performed since late December.

It wasn’t their best showing against the Stars at the Saddledome, but they found a way to come away with two points again.

“That’s a huge win. They were ahead of us in the standings,” Giordano said. “To win in regulation against them, it’s a big game. Down the stretch, those are important, those conference games.”

Ranked ninth in the league with 2.9 goals per game, the Flames have found their scoring touch. They’ve found their motivation, setting their sights on winning two of every three games. And, apparently, they’ve found just the right balance of work-to-rest ratio.

“Guess with all the old guys in here, they’re good,” Cory Sarich joked about the days off. “I think guys have been using them the right way, getting some rest. They’ve been great for us the last little while. We’ve maybe had a few more than usual lately, but we’ve also played every other day and more than that for just over two weeks. That’s a grind come this time of the year.

“It’s timely. It obviously hasn’t hurt us at all.”

On the contrary, they’ve probably helped.

“Anytime you get time off and get your mind away from the rink and away from hockey and just go and hang out with the family, it’s great for everyone,” said Curtis Glencross, who has been on fire lately with 10 points during a six-game streak. “It’s nice to have a day to relax.”

Veteran Steve Staios has been in the league for 15 years and figures head coach Brent Sutter has been as generous with days off as anyone he’s ever been coached by.

“I think over the last stretch it’s been as much as I’ve seen. And it’s obviously been working,” said Staios. “It’s helped us get re-energized for games.”

The physical rest is one aspect, but they also get to take a bit of a mental break from the grind of trying to win every game knowing even a couple of losses in one week could set them back in a big way.

Of course, considering their situation, it might be tough to avoid watching the scoreboard even on a day off.

“I’m sure In the back of our minds, we’ll be watching to see what the standings do the next few nights, because some teams have a few games in hand on us,” Glencross said.

“I find it pretty easy to get away,” said Sarich. “Especially when there’s a little golf on.

“I usually check the scores at the end of the night.”


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