Nilson pumped for 'Dome fans

TODD SAELHOF -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 1:45 PM ET

 The Calgary Flames like playing at the Saddledome.

 They insist they really do.

  What's up, then, with the sub-.500 playoff record here? A 4-5 home mark is hardly the stuff of Stanley Cup champions. Surely, it can't be nerves at this point of the playoffs.

 Does it have something to do with being immersed in the raucous Sea of Red?

 "It's great, especially when you get out there for the start of the game," said Flames forward Marcus Nilson during yesterday's media scrums in the Saddledome. "It's so loud and it really inspires you to play. But maybe we are too pumped up."

 Whatever the reason, the Flames need to solve their home woes heading into tonight's Game 3 of the Stanley Cup final (6 p.m.) against the Tampa Bay Lightning. The critical tilt marks the first of two consecutive home games for the Flames.

 In the last series, the back-to-back home games went to the San Jose Sharks.

 Fortunately, they had won the two previous games on the road to jump out to a 2-0 lead in the Western Conference final.

 "We came back here and the building was going crazy but we didn't play as well as we were capable of," said Flames playoff hero Martin Gelinas.

 "Let's get back to our game -- get good defence, skating and finish our checks."

 Just like they did the last time they graced the 'Dome ice.

 Jarome Iginla was quick to remind the media of the Game 6 clincher 10 days ago over the Sharks. That 3-1 win was a solid home effort to claim for the Flames the title of Western Conference champions.

 "From our point of view, our last game here was good," said the ever-optimistic Flames captain.

 "We're going to build on that. We adjusted some things last game at home -- our intensity was up. And we want to have that same effort."

 One major adjustment was a team decision to stay in a hotel the night prior to Game 6. The Flames hoped it would help mimic their road success of these playoffs, which was 8-2 at the time.

 These days at 9-3 after Thursday's loss in Tampa, the Flames were hush-hush yesterday regarding a return to a Calgary hotel last night.

 "I don't want to tell you -- c'mon," said Iginla with a sly grin. "Guys have always had the choice to do that -- it's how you want to prepare. And this is as big a home game as it gets -- our biggest so far. We plan to be prepared."

 Better be, especially since the visitors bring a successful road record to the 'Dome. The Lightning is 5-2 in this post-season but has lost the last two games away from Tampa -- both to the Philadelphia Flyers in the Eastern Conference final.

 "You can't just count on your home ice to get some wins," said Lightning winger Martin St. Louis.

 "We have done that in the playoffs this year. That's important and we play good on the road. I hope we come here and do the things that we've done so far on the road and take (tonight's) game."

 "I'm glad we're back on the road," said Lightning head coach John Tortorella. "We have been at home for a bit. I think it's good to get away now from some of the distractions outside of it for our players. We get to hang out a little bit as a team. I think when you get on the road, going away allows you to concentrate on what we're really doing here."


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