Discipline a must

DAN TOTH -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 4:50 PM ET


 Like stacks of black body bags on a cart, the Flames' equipment was wheeled out of the Saddledome yesterday for the jaunt to Vancouver and Game 7.

 Continue the sombre procession to the penalty box tonight as in Games 5 and 6 and the Flames might as well pull the zippers over their heads.

 The team's playoff dream will be deader than disco.

 "It's about discipline," advises assistant coach Jim Playfair of the team's early indiscretions.

 "If you look at the games we've won, we had discipline and in the games we didn't win, we didn't have discipline. That's a huge factor going into (tonight's) game."

 After taking six first-period penalties, despite winning 2-1 Thursday in Vancouver, the Flames vowed the same would not happen -- couldn't happen -- again Saturday.

 Yet off they went on a penalty parade in the opening frame -- Mike Commodore for cross-checking, Krzysztof Oliwa tagged with charging, Stephane Yelle for holding and Craig Conroy with high-sticking.

 The four infractions -- including three in an eight-minute span -- didn't cost the team a goal but clearly swung momentum into the Canucks' favour and left the Flames scrambling to recover.

 Then Yelle's interference penalty on Canucks goalie Alex Auld 4:31 into the second allowed Daniel Sedin to net his first goal of the series, opening a 2-0 lead. Although the Flames forced overtime, the early setback proved fatal.

 "It taxed our team early in the game by taking three quick penalties," agrees Playfair, noting five consecutive infractions early on were just what the players had been warned against.

 "We did a good job in killing them off except for the last one where (Sedin) makes a beautiful play and scores a goal.

 "From there on out we got our game on track a little bit better but that definitely set us back from establishing a hard-pounding game we need to get established in the first period."

 Most of the 19,289 critics in the crowd Saturday night didn't concur with referees Michael (Mick) McGeough and Rob Shick on most of their calls.

 But the Flames' admission of guilt yesterday makes it a focal point for Game 7.

 "We spent a little too much time in the penalty box at the start and that's hard," reasons left-winger Marcus Nilson.

 "They got the momentum going, got a couple of goals but it's a new game (tonight) -- we have to come out better and ...we will."

 Checking winger Chris Clark agrees: "(You lose) momentum because we can't get four lines rolling and can't get everybody involved in the game, some guys have to sit and wait if they're not on the powerplay or penalty killing.

 "It's something we've been talking about and we have to stay out of the penalty box," he added.


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