On the road to success

DAN TOTH -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 5:13 PM ET


 It's fitting the Calgary Flames' playoff journey detours today through the airport, beginning with a little trip over the Rocky Mountains to Vancouver.

 While some teams get lost when they head out of town, this team has been remarkably road worthy this season -- one of just three Western Conference clubs posting a .500 or better record while playing out of a suitcase.

 And more than one Flames player was eager yesterday to point to GM Place as the perfect spot to turn the key on their current playoff pilgrimage.

 "We've been a very successful team this year on the road," says defenceman Denis Gauthier, whose squad boasts a 2-1 record this season in The Garage.

 "We're one of maybe four of five teams this year (eight, actually) that had more than 20 wins on the road. So we feel comfortable when we're out of the Saddledome and maybe to get the jitters out.

 "It'll be nice to get (started) over there. We've had a fair amount of success in their building, so it's a place we feel good and comfortable. Hopefully, that feeling carries through in the playoffs."

 The Flames won just 15 road games last season, including posting a miserable seven-game road winless skid en route to missing the playoffs for a seventh straight year before winning 21 times away from home in 2003-04.

 Captain Jarome Iginla, with just a pair of NHL playoff games on his resume, says the Flames' impressive road record provides confidence for at least a split of Games 1 and 2 on Vancouver ice tomorrow and Friday.

 "If we had our way, we'd probably like to have home-ice advantage," Iginla admits. "But we've probably been about even road and home, so it's just about getting wins. If we can win one of the road, then great, we've got home-ice advantage."

 "Obviously, when you play at home, you get the crowd and so on," offers left-winger Martin Gelinas, who won a Stanley Cup in 1990 with Edmonton. "But in the past -- I've played a lot of playoff games -- and home or away, it doesn't really matter."

 GM/coach Darryl Sutter is quick to point out the 82-game regular season is now irrelevant.

 "It has no bearing," Sutter shrugs. "It really doesn't matter about regular season -- any comparables -- otherwise, the team that finishes first would (finish) first next year."


Videos

Photos