Flames out to regain lost ground

SCOTT FISHER, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 11:40 PM ET

CALGARY - Monday was one of the worst nights of the season for the Calgary Flames.

And they didn’t even play.

Players and coaches could do nothing but kick in their high-def TVs as they watched both the San Jose Sharks and the Colorado Avalanche leapfrog them in the standings.

The Flames were in a jovial mood Monday afternoon, fresh off their third straight win and clinging to the final playoff spot in the Western Conference.

But after the Sharks and Avs both won, and the Phoenix Coyotes snatched up a loser point, the Flames returned to the Dome to take care of business.

Winger David Moss said he’s not going to drive himself crazy by pushing the refresh button on the nhl.com scoreboard every 10 seconds.

“Day after day the standings are going to change so you have to focus on your own games,” Moss said.

The Flames headed into Tuesday night’s tilt against the Sharks knowing they can’t count on anyone to help them out.

Still, players become fans at this time of the year.

The Flames are solidly behind anyone who plays against the Sharks, the Coyotes, the Avalanche and the Los Angeles Kings.

Centre Matt Stajan said the club can’t let Monday night’s letdown disrupt its own momentum.

“We know that’s going to happen,” Stajan said.

“Every team is going to be scoreboard watching on their nights off.

“When it’s your time to play, you have to make sure you’re getting your points.

“Control what you can control and things will take care of themselves.”

Players usually don’t like to admit they’re keeping one eye on the out-of-town scoreboard.

It’s akin to the other myths and half-truths like, ‘I don’t read the newspapers,’ or ‘I don’t care if I play as long as we’re winning.’

But when the race is this tight, there’s no sense denying it.

“At this time of year, when you’re in the hunt like this, everyone scoreboard watches and knows what other teams are doing,” Flames bench boss Brent Sutter said.

“Anybody who says differently, they’re not telling you the truth.”

Ah, some honesty.

Tumbling down two spots in the standings on an off night has to be frustrating.

But Sutter said his squad will continue to hope for a helping hand while concentrating on their remaining 12 tilts on the schedule.

“I think they all watch it, they just tell you differently,” Sutter said of his players.

“I find it hard to believe that no one isn’t keeping track on what other teams are doing, too.

“Obviously, we need to take care of our own business because everything else is irrelevant unless we do. At the same time, when the games are over last night, you’re getting up and seeing what the scores were.

“It’s going to change from night to night, but at the end of the day, you have to make sure you’re doing what you need to do.”

scott.fisher@sunmedia.ca

On Twitter: @SUNScottFisher


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