Reversal of fortune

RANDY SPORTAK -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 11:16 AM ET

 DETROIT -- The memo apparently didn't reach the Flames dressing-room.

 You know the one, it stipulated they're supposed to be incapable of scoring.

  That they're not talented enough to compete with the offensive powerhouse from Detroit.

 Check the stats and prepare for the surprise.

 The total of 28 goals Calgary has scored is the most among any playoff squad. Yep, you read that right. No team has scored more often this post-season than the small-budget Flames.

 Granted the Flames have played the most games -- 11 -- and the easy argument is to say their offensive production has more to do with extra opportunity as opposed to a suddenly found attack.

 Not totally true.

 Tampa Bay is the most potent squad, with 26 goals in nine games for a 2.89 goals-per-game average but Colorado (23 goals in nine games for a 2.55 average) is the only other squad with a better per-game average than Calgary's 2.545.

 Stat No. 3: The 13 different different goal scorers leaves Calgary tied with Detroit for having the most men light the lamp.

 "I didn't know that," said Shean Donovan. "It's good and we've got to capitalize more when we have the chance to score. But our bread and butter isn't scoring, it's defence and the goaltending with Kipper."

 Ah yes, there's the rub.

 The Flames have allowed the most goals -- 28 -- a stat that leaves them tied with Montreal for that distinction. In comparison, Tampa Bay has surrendered 10 goals in nine post-season games.

 It's a long way from the tight-checking numbers posted in the regular season, when the Flames were No. 3 in the league with an impressive 2.15 goals-against average.

 "We know we've got to play a lot better defensively," Donovan said.

 Start doing that and the Flames will indeed be in a better situation in their Western Conference semifinal series with Detroit, which is tied at two wins apiece heading into today's game in Motown. Especially if they maintain their scoring level.

 "We know we're not out of a game," Donovan said. "You could see when we were down by two (Thursday night) we came back and that's a good thing. We don't get worried when we down because we know we can come back but, obviously, we'd rather be playing with a lead -- a five-goal lead."

 Doing that would be difficult against the ultra-talented Red Wings but the Flames certainly know the formula they need in the remainder of their series.

 "We've just got to come out and play harder, bring the energy level we brought in Game 3. I didn't think we got it for 60 minutes (last game) and everyone in the room knows that," Donovan said. "To think that we can't win by not playing 60 minutes, we're just kidding ourselves.

 "They beat us in those little areas we usually play good in, like the corners. They outbattled us."

 One school of thought is the Wings finally displayed another gear last game. That the difference was Detroit's superior ability.

 Donovan doesn't buy that theory.

 "People were saying we outworked them in Game 3 but you know what, they came and threw that in our faces," he said.

 - - -


 Team scoring in the 2004 NHL playoffs.

 GPA is goals per game, GA is goals against



 Team Games Goals GPG GA

 CAL 11 28 2.55 28

 TB 9 26 2.89 10

 Tor 11 26 2.36 17

 Col 9 24 2.55 20

 Det 10 24 2.40 18

 Mtl 11 24 2.18 28

 SJ 9 22 2.44 13

 Pha 9 21 2.33 15

 Vcr 7 16 2.29 19

 Bos 7 14 2.00 19

 Ott 7 11 1.57 14

 Dal 5 10 2.00 19

 Nash 6 9 1.50 12

 NJ 5 9 1.80 14

 StL 5 9 1.80 12

 NYI 5 5 1.00 12