Eyes dead ahead

TODD SAELHOF -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 4:31 PM ET


  When they last saw the Tampa Bay Lightning, the Calgary Flames were trying to explain a lopsided 6-2 loss at the Saddledome.

That Jan. 24 tilt between the two clubs marked their only meeting of the 2003-04 NHL season.

"I've never even thought about that game once," said Flames GM-head coach Darryl Sutter after yesterday's practice at the 'Dome.

Perhaps Sutter should reconsider because the Lightning is a team the Flames know little about first-hand heading into the 2004 Stanley Cup final.

"It is tougher until we watch video and get into the first game," said gritty Flames winger Chris Clark of meeting the Eastern Conference champions. "When you don't see a team a lot and you don't get to see them on TV that much, it does make it a little more difficult."

Looking back at the embarrassing loss -- in which former Flame Martin St. Louis scored three goals and an assist -- might be tough to stomach.

"That doesn't mean anything to us," said Flames defenceman Andrew Ference of a game that featured backup goaltenders Roman Turek and John Grahame. "Anybody that knows hockey is not going to look to that as an outcome to this series.

"We're going to look at tape from their last series and from playoffs. We're not going to dig four months back looking for tendencies there. If you looked at a tape of our team four months back, you wouldn't get a very good feeling for what our team can do. We're a totally different team now."

Flames captain Jarome Iginla echoed that thought: "We had a bad game but we've had a lot of changes since then. We feel we're a lot better.

"They're also a different team. And they're probably better.

"You look at the score that night. Six goals against? We (didn't) average six goals against all year. There's probably some things to take from that game but we're going to leave that one behind."


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