Wings pressure-cooked?

TODD SAELHOF -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 4:39 PM ET


 First things first.

 The Calgary Flames will focus on nothing more than the first period ... at least until they've made it through the initial 20 minutes of tonight's Game 6 against the Detroit Red Wings -- although with just one win separating them from the NHL's Western Conference final, it might be a tough sell.

 "It's hard not to get a little excited about thinking of being in a conference final," admitted Flames captain Jarome Iginla. "But I think generally, the feeling around the room is about getting ready for (Game 6) and being our best.

 "If you just watch the guys, it's about preparing to work. We realize it's going to be our toughest game and we're not going to get ahead of ourselves. We're not even (focusing on) the whole game. It's about preparing for our start."

 That start will undoubtedly include full-on pressure from the Red Wings. After all, the odds-on favourite to win the Stanley Cup when this post-season began must be feeling the pressure of being pushed to the brink of elimination.

 "I think all series they've had more pressure on them and I don't think that really changes," Iginla said. "They probably wouldn't believe us if we said it wasn't. They are the President's Trophy winner and they have more pressure on them. I mean, that's the way it is.

 "And as far as us ... I don't know if we've been feeling like there's too much pressure or anything like that. We're enjoying this. We're enjoying competing for each other and going out there and trying to win battles."

 So far, so good against, first, the Vancouver Canucks and now the Red Wings, who are still considered the series favourites although they trail 3-2 in the series against the plucky Flames.

 "There's no question they're still the favourites," said Flames playoff veteran Martin Gelinas. "They've got a lot of skill and a lot of veterans and (tonight) they'll be a desperate team. We're going to have to play a lot harder and a lot better, because they're going to come fully prepared."

 Fully loaded, as well, although their offence is one large link weaker without their leader, Steve Yzerman. Still, the Red Wings boast a bevy of experience from which to draw to force a Game 7.

 "You just look around the room and there are a lot of leaders," said Red Wings centre Kris Draper. "There is character in here and it's up to us to step up as a group. We have a lot of guys who have been here before."

 Meanwhile, Flames players are looking to go where, for the most part, they haven't gone before. Underdogs rarely make an appearance in the third round.

 "I don't think we really view ourselves as underdogs," said Flames defenceman Andrew Ference. "I've kind of always hated that term. To say that you're the underdog, it's like saying failure is all right and that winning is kind of a bonus. That's kind of a twisted way to go about things if you're expecting your team to win and do well in the playoffs."

 All it will take is one more win.

 "As far as our preparation, it's pretty focused," Iginla added. "We're not that excited. We're not all smiles either. We still realize there's more work to be done in this series. It's not about focusing on when the series is done or anything like that or how good it will feel when it's done. Right now, it's about getting ready to be ready for a first period."

 And nothing more.


Videos

Photos