Shooting stars staying positive

SCOTT FISHER -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 3:48 PM ET


 Darryl Sutter's not worried.

 Sure, the Calgary Flames were just blanked on home ice for the second time this post-season. But after putting his squad through the paces yesterday, the bench boss is confident the offensive well has yet to run dry.

 "I counted and our forwards scored 755 goals today," Sutter quipped at yesterday's press conference.

 "I don't know if you (media members) were here for the whole practice but all three goalies got the hook.

 "We were only on the ice for 32 minutes and all three (got pulled)."

 All joking aside, Sutter said he has no reason to panic.

 His players were firing blanks during a 1-0 loss in Game 4 but at least they were pulling the trigger.

 "It's over and done with," Sutter said. "What makes it hard to score goals is when you don't get scoring chances. That's when you have a real issue.

 "We had the puck on the right players' sticks, in good position, and we either missed the net or ... what's been overlooked is who was the best player on the ice? It was the guy in the blue paint at the other end."

 Jarome Iginla, who leads all playoff performers with a dozen goals, gave Tampa 'tender Nikolai Khabibulin credit but said the Flames let themselves down by not converting on a few glorious opportunities.

 "We do have a lot of respect for (Khabibulin) but, from our point of view, we just have to hit more nets," Iginla said. "We didn't make it hard enough on him for the whole 60 minutes. But we wake up today and see it as a challenge. It's a best-of-three for the Stanley Cup. It wasn't supposed to be easy and it's not. I wouldn't want it any other way. The more that's on the line, the more fun it is to play and the more fun it is to win."

 The Flames have scored 54 goals during their improbable playoff run. That's an average of just 2.35 goals per game. No team in the past 15 years has won the Stanley Cup with such low offensive productivity.

 The 1999 Dallas Stars rank the lowest, lighting the lamp 2.61 times per outing. That's the bad news.

 The good news is Tampa, with all its firepower, hasn't been much more prolific. The Lightning's 2.65 goals-per-game average is higher than only Dallas and last year's champion New Jersey Devils (2.63).

 Martin Gelinas blamed the recent goose egg on a few bad bounces.

 "We had opportunities and didn't bury them," he said. "But that's the card we're dealt. We have to go to Tampa and make the best of it."

 GOAL FOR GLORY

 You gotta score goals to win games -- and the Stanley Cup. But how many goals are enough? Here's Calgary and Tampa's offensive output in the 2004 playoffs compared to the offences of the Cup-winning teams since 1989.

                       
Year  Winner        GP  G   G/G
2004  Calgary       23  54  2.35
2004  Tampa         20  53  2.65
2003  New Jersey    24  63  2.63
2002  Detroit       23  72  3.13
2001  Colorado      23  69  3.00
2000  New Jersey    23  61  2.65
1999  Dallas        23  60  2.61
1998  Detroit       22  75  3.41
1997  Detroit       20  58  2.90
1996  Colorado      22  80  3.64
1995  New Jersey    20  67  3.35
1994  N.Y. Rangers  23  81  3.52
1993  Montreal      20  66  3.30
1992  Pittsburgh    21  83  3.95
1991  Pittsburgh    24  95  3.96
1990  Edmonton      22  93  4.23
1989  Calgary       22  82  3.73


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