Sights set on seven

RANDY SPORTAK -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 10:16 AM ET

The record-tying road trip is in the books.

Time to put it in the past, place it among the mothballs and look only to the future, which begins with tonight's clash against the Dallas Stars.

Or is it?

"I don't know if we want to forget about it. It's something that's contagious, feels great," said Calgary Flames captain Jarome Iginla.

"Winning, at the end of the night, feels so good and sometimes you forget how good it feels and your confidence isn't high.

"You always want to remember it, but you want it to snowball, and I think we want it to keep carrying it over. We want to keep winning.

"I don't think we forget the road. I think we want to bring it back here and keep it going."

Head coach Mike Keenan agreed with that sentiment after putting his charges through the paces yesterday at the Saddledome.

Sure, it's a new day and past success doesn't mean much in the next game, but Keenan doesn't want his club to forget about the six-for-six road excursion.

"You try to draw upon any aspect of your team development," Keenan said.

"Whether it's successful on the road or at home, anything that gives you positive feedback to build successes of your group, I think you should tap into when it's there."

Certainly the Flames have plenty to tap into.

Thanks to the trio of Jarome Iginla, Kristian Huselius and Daymond Langkow -- who combined for 31 points over those six games -- the club rediscovered its offensive touch that seemed to disappear in November.

Special teams were extra special, too.

Throw in some outstanding goaltending from Miikka Kiprusoff and strong performances from unheralded members of the supporting cast like Eric Nystrom and Cory Sarich, to name only a couple, and the Flames do have something to build upon.

Still, the test is to bring those winning ways to the Saddledome during the two home games on the slate before Santa arrives.

So far, the Flames have been downright mediocre at home, with a 7-7-4 record, well off the pace set in these parts the last two seasons.

Keenan's task is to make the same things that brought all that road success work at home, which sounds easy but can be a tough chore.

Probably the biggest key is the special teams.

Scoring on seven of 23 chances with the man-advantage and killing off 25 of 28 shorthanded situations, like they did on the road trip, fits along the lines of the team's expectations, and is a great improvement from what we saw the first couple of months.

Still, it was a unique sight at the 'Dome compared to last season. The Flames don't forget the experience of returning after yet another disastrous road swing to the constant questions of 'What went wrong this time?"

Iginla, who had to answer about those failures last season, was thrilled to be asked about life on the other side of the coin.

"Absolutely. It's a good feeling," Iginla said. "It was a great road trip for us, getting back into the playoffs and getting some momentum.

"There's a lot of things we can use in a positive way, build on, and keep it going."

ICE CHIPS:

Centre Daymond Langkow didn't practice due to a leg injury, but should play tonight ... Right winger Owen Nolan, who is battling a neck injury, participated fully in practice.


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