Flames need a spark

The Calgary Flames hope to put some power back in their power play ahead of the playoffs.

CALGARY — The Calgary Flames hope to put some power back in their power play ahead of the playoffs.

The Flames suffered through a miserable 0-for-43 skid with the man advantage to end the regular season. They’re now looking to erase that stretch of futility from their memory banks by turning around their fortunes during their first-round series against the Chicago Blackhawks.

“It’s a fresh start for us and it’s a whole new season,” said forward Michael Cammalleri, who led Calgary with 39 goals this season including a team-high 19 power-play markers.

“We’ll spin it positive anyway we can.”

Despite their scoring woes late in the campaign, Cammalleri has confidence that the Flames can turn things around in the post-season.

“As far as the power play, let’s go lead the playoffs in power-play scoring as a team,” said the 26-year-old forward, who will play his first-ever playoff game in Chicago on Thursday night. “How great would that be?”

Defenceman Dion Phaneuf said the Flames showed signs of improving their power play during a pair of high-tempo practices in at home on Monday and Tuesday.

“You just want to stay sharp,” said Phaneuf, who counted four of his 11 regular-season goals during the power play. “You want to work on things and you want to get better.”

Captain Jarome Iginla concurred with his teammates that the Flames have what it takes to capitalize on odd-man advantages against the Blackhawks.

Calgary’s power play operated at a 17 per cent clip to finish 21st in the league during the regular season, while Chicago’s penalty-killing unit finished tied for 17th with an 80.6 per cent efficiency rating.

“We look forward to break out,” Iginla said. “In the first game would be nice.”

To do that, the Flames will have to solve Chicago netminder Nikolai Khabibulin, who has compiled a stellar 22-5-2 regular season record against the Flames, not to mention a 4-3 advantage in the playoffs when he led the Tampa Bay Lighting to a Stanley Cup victory over Calgary in 2004.

“This year, he’s had a good run against us again, but we haven’t played the way we could especially on the road,” Iginla said of Khabibulin’s 3-0 record this past season against the Flames.

“It’s going to be a similar storyline. You have to shoot, get to the net, be very determined, get screens and that’s really what we’ve got to do. We know that we’re going to have to make it hard on him and put as many (shots) as we can get there.”

Like Cammalleri, Olli Jokinen will take part in his first-ever playoff game on Thursday after an NHL-record stretch of 799 games without playing in a post-season contest.

The 30-year-old Finnish centre also has complete confidence that the Flames can produce on the power play against the Blackhawks.

“It’s a new season,” said Jokinen, who the Flames acquired at the NHL trade deadline from the Phoenix Coyotes in exchange for Matthew Lombardi, Brandon Prust and a conditional first-round draft pick.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Lyn Radford, 2019 Canada Winter Games board chair, was named 2020 Sport Event Volunteer of the Year at the Prestige Awards. (File photo by Advocate staff)
WATCH: Lyn Radford wins award for volunteer efforts

The board chair of the 2019 Canada Winter Games in Red Deer… Continue reading

A health-care worker prepares a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at a UHN COVID-19 vaccine clinic in Toronto on Thursday, January 7, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Red Deer dips below 300 active COVID-19 cases

The number of active COVID-19 cases in Red Deer continued to drop… Continue reading

A candlelight vigil will be held in Red Deer on Thursday to honour the 350-plus people killed in the Easter bombing attack in Sri Lanka. Contributed photo
Candlelight vigil planned for deaths linked to Olymel COVID-19 outbreak

A candlelight vigil is being planned for those who died due to… Continue reading

Red Deer Rebels forward Jaxsen Wiebe battles Calgary Hitmen forward Cael Zimmerman for a loose puck when the two teams squared off in February last season. (Photo by BYRON HACKETT/Advocate Staff)
Calgary Hitmen shutout Red Deer Rebels

Rebels name centre Jayden Grubbe team captain ahead of Friday’s game

Bryson, six, and Mara, eight, play with puppies from Dogs With Wings Saturday. (Photo by Sean McIntosh/Advocate staff)
WATCH: Dogs With Wings introduces Red Deer program

A program that trains puppies to be certified service, autism, facility and… Continue reading

Walter Gretzky father of hockey hall-of-famer Wayne Gretzky waves to fans as the Buffalo Sabres play against the Toronto Maple Leafs during third period NHL hockey action in Toronto on Tuesday, January 17, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Funeral for Walter Gretzky to be held Saturday in home town of Brantford, Ont.

The funeral for hockey legend Wayne Gretzky’s father Walter will take place… Continue reading

A sign for the Canadian Security Intelligence Service building is shown in Ottawa on May 14, 2013. A newly released audit report shows that difficulties with the judicial warrant process at Canada's spy agency — an issue that made headlines last summer — stretch back at least nine years. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Spy warrant shortcomings stretch back almost a decade, newly released audit shows

OTTAWA — A newly released audit report shows that difficulties with the… Continue reading

In this file photo, a lotto Max ticket is shown in Toronto on Monday Feb. 26, 2018. (By THE CANADIAN PRESS)
No winning ticket for Friday night’s Lotto Max jackpot

TORONTO — No winning ticket was sold for the estimated $29 million… Continue reading

A trial countdown sign marks the days at George Floyd Square, March 4, 2021, in Minneapolis. Ten months after police officers brushed off George Floyd's moans for help on the street outside a south Minneapolis grocery, the square remains a makeshift memorial for Floyd who died at the hand of police making an arrest. The trial of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin will begin with jury selection on March 8. (AP Photo/Jim Mone)
Officer’s trial could reopen intersection where Floyd died

MINNEAPOLIS — During a group’s recent meeting at the now-vacant Speedway gas… Continue reading

FILE - In this Aug. 30, 2020 file photo Portland Police Chief Chuck Lovell calls for an end to violence in the city during a news conference a day after a demonstrator was shot and killed in downtown Portland. Amid protests following the police killing of George Floyd last year Portland dissolved a special police unit designed to focus on gun violence. Critics say the squad unfairly targeted Black people, but gun violence and homicides have since spiked in Oregon's largest city, and some say disbanding the 35-officer unit was a mistake. (Sean Meagher/The Oregonian via AP, File)
As violence surges, some question Portland axing police unit

PORTLAND, Ore. — Elmer Yarborough got a terrifying call from his sister:… Continue reading

Harley Hay
Harley Hay: Just don’t call it cod liver oil

Many people swear that a daily dose of various vitamins is an… Continue reading

Email editor@auburn-reporter.com
Letter: Preserving green spaces in Red Deer

The Advocate published an article Feb. 11 about Sunnybrook residents concerned about… Continue reading

Former Toronto Argonauts lineman Chris Schultz remembered as a gentle giant

Former Toronto Argonauts lineman Chris Schultz remembered as a gentle giant

Most Read