Wings won't be burned by hype

RANDY SPORTAK -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 10:55 AM ET

Kirk Maltby and the Detroit Red Wings arrived in Calgary Sunday night.

That's given Kirk Maltby and his teammates plenty of time to digest the Calgary Flames and their struggles.

"I only read a little bit of the paper but I saw the rear-view mirror thing," he said, referring to the Sun's front page illustrating how the Colorado Avalanche have gained ground on the Flames.

"They're gonna be a desperate team but it doesn't matter if they're in first place, last place or fighting for a playoff berth, we're always in tough with these guys.

"We know they need these two points but we need these two points, too, because we want to keep climbing.

"We don't expect anything less than their best, regardless of how things are going or what people are saying about this team.

"It's gonna be a Calgary Flames team that always comes out and plays us tough, especially in this building."

The Wings arrive in Calgary coming off a 4-1 loss in Vancouver.

Detroit is on the verge of yet another 100-point season, is firmly entrenched in a playoff spot and vying for top spot in the Western Conference.

Calgary, meanwhile, has a four-point edge on Colorado for the final playoff position, a gap that seems to be shrinking daily, and has lost three straight. Maltby may have spent more than a decade of his career in Detroit but isn't surprised to see the uproar in the city.

"It's sports and it's Canada with hockey," he said.

"It's something to talk about and something to stir up. I'm sure they'd rather be a lot more comfortable in the standings than what they are.

"From an outside point of view, they (the Flames and Avs) play each other on the last game of the season, so -- being a hockey fan like I am -- it'd be nice to see that game means one team's in and one team's out. I'm sure that's not what they want."

You can bet on that, which means the Flames can be considered a wounded bear, dangerous if and when they do find their form.

"I think everybody's dangerous," said Wings head coach Mike Babcock.

"Everybody's got something to play for.

"If you're playing for just jobs, playing for standings, playing to get into the standings, there's something to play for.

"Calgary's always played us hard, they've always been well prepared and ready to compete ... and I don't see this game being any different."


Videos

Photos