Can't keep a good team down

TODD SAELHOF -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 11:13 AM ET

 The bounce-back.

 It's no easy task in the NHL playoffs -- and certainly not at Joe Louis Arena in Detroit.

  Fortunately, the Calgary Flames have the bounce-back weapon in their repertoire.

 They learned it early in the regular season.

 They honed it down the stretch run to earn them their first playoff berth in eight years.

 And they perfected it in a first-round elimination of the Vancouver Canucks.

 Now, they'll need it big-time against the Red Wings for Game 5 of their second-round series today in Detroit.

 "I think we've been pretty good about moving on after a disappointment," said Flames captain Jarome Iginla.

 "To go up 3-1 (after Game 4), that would have been great. But at the same time, Detroit's very desperate and they wanted to make it 2-2. Now it's our turn to go there and be even more desperate and more hungry. As important as (Thursday) was, (today) is even moreso now."

 No kidding.

 A loss today would put the Flames down 3-2 in the series -- not an enviable position going up against the league's Presidents Trophy winner this season and Stanley Cup champs three of the last seven years.

 Then again, there's plenty of reasons to believe the Flames can take today's matinee and put the Red Wings down 3-2.

 They could then wrap up the series in Game 6 Monday night at the Saddledome.

 During the regular season, the Flames lost consecutive games only 10 times. And in these playoffs, they have yet to drop two straight tilts.

 "Maybe it's just our new personnel," said Flames veteran winger Chris Clark.

 "A lot of the guys we brought in are winners. They're not used to losing like that. They're not used to being on losing streaks."

 Look no further than goaltender Miikka Kiprusoff, who has a knack for the bounce-back.

 Proving why he's a nominee for the Vezina Trophy as the league's top goaltender, Kiprusoff has just a pair of two-game losing skids to his name this season.

 "It's confidence," Clark said.

 "It's knowing you're not going to lose. Some teams just by habit and routine, it happens all the time. You get behind in a game and think, 'Geez, we're not going to win.' "

 Like Clark and the Flames of the seven previous seasons?

 "Exactly. I've seen it happen," said Clark with a chuckle.

 "You get on the opposite roll you want to be on. You lose a game, it turns into two or three and it turns into a losing streak.

 "That's something we haven't had all year and it's something we don't want to start in the playoffs."

 So far, so good.

 And the bounce-back is not simply reserved for game-to-game situations for the Flames.

 They've also rebounded within games.

 Take, for instance, the remarkable resilience shown in Games 6 against the Canucks. They overcame a four-goal deficit to force overtime.

 Then they rebounded from a heartbreaking OT loss in Game 6 to win Game 7.

 Even in the clincher, the Flames shook off the game-tying goal with 5.7 seconds left in regulation to triumph in overtime.

 Move to Thursday's Game 4 of this series and again the Flames fought back from a two-goal deficit against the confident Red Wings.

 "We've been doing that all year. And we can bounce back from a loss, too," Clark said.


Videos

Photos