Hairy, surly and Moe

ERIC FRANCIS -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 2:25 PM ET


 Given the limited amount of playoff experience on the Flames roster, it's safe to say most players don't have a clue what they're in for.

 Derek Morris does and he says his former squad will undoubtedly be able to make the jump to playoff intensity.

 In fact, he thinks his former club is one of the teams to beat this spring.

 "In the playoffs, the intensity obviously goes up, everybody finishes all their checks, everybody has to play physically and you have to try to make it tough for the other team. The thing I can't stress enough about the Flames is that's the way they play every night," said Morris, who got his first taste of playoff hockey two years ago in Colorado.

 "I firmly believe they're ready for the playoffs. Their goaltending is strong -- they've had great goaltending all year -- and that's the most important thing. A lot of it will come down to that."

 He says it also comes down to two other key areas in which the Flames are strong.

 "They don't allow many mistakes and playoffs is just a matter of mistakes and powerplay," said Morris.

 "It all boils down to a powerplay and penalty kill and they don't take very many penalties, which is also good. They could go a long way if they stick to their system. I like the way Darryl (Sutter) has their team playing."

 Morris says tempo will be the hardest adjustment for the Flames for the first game or two.

 "The speed is the biggest thing -- everybody comes so hard," he said.

 "When it comes to the playoffs, you just have to play your system better than the other team. You're so prepared for the playoffs -- you go through so much video, you know every single player, what their tendencies are, what their powerplay is like, their penalty kill, how to shoot on their goalie. It just comes down to who plays their system better and I like the way the Flames play their system and the way they played down the stretch."

 Before being traded to Phoenix at the trade deadline, Morris remembers how frustrated his Colorado Avalanche teammates were every time they played Calgary and its stifling defensive system.

 "We had a hard time with them in Colorado -- it was always a tough night," said Morris, whose Coyotes missed the playoffs.

 "Colorado has a lot of offence and Calgary did a good job shutting that down. They don't give you a lot of room. They match up well against Colorado, they match up well against Detroit, they match up well against all the top teams with good offence."

 A close friend of Jarome Iginla, Morris has stayed in touch with several other Flames and is convinced they'll easily handle the pressure that comes with post-season play.

 "There's obviously more pressure and there's more competition in the games but they've got a team that plays like that every night," said Morris, who attended Iginla's wedding last summer.

 "I want them to do well. They've been through a long haul and it was tough playing.

 "You can see when you get into town, the atmosphere is a lot different. People are excited about the team and everybody now feels they have a team that can win and I feel they have a team that can win, too."

 Can they do what Anaheim did a year ago?

 "Yep, I think they can if their goaltending stays hot," he said.

 "I like the two goalies they have over there. Roman (Turek) has played well down the stretch. Anaheim (won) a lot of games on goaltending and Iggy is hot, too. He's the kind of guy who thrives in the big games."

 As Morris sees it, there will be plenty of those to come in the next few weeks for the Flames.

 And he'll be one of their biggest fans.


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