Do or die

Mike Keenan appealed to his players’ pride and captain Jarome Iginla called on teammates to prove the Flames have the depth to stave off elimination from the NHL playoffs despite their injuries.

There is no room for error for the Calgary Flames entering Game 6 tonight

CALGARY — Mike Keenan appealed to his players’ pride and captain Jarome Iginla called on teammates to prove the Flames have the depth to stave off elimination from the NHL playoffs despite their injuries.

Those two qualities are required for Calgary to extend its conference quarter-final series with Chicago beyond today’s Game 6 (TSN, 7:30 p.m.) and to avoid a first-round ousting for the fourth straight season.

The Flames will need every advantage home ice gives them Monday. The battered club is losing the war of attrition to a Blackhawks team buoyant from a 5-1 win Saturday in Chicago that gave them a 3-2 lead in the best-of-seven series.

After the game, Keenan blamed himself for not preparing his team better and Iginla, with one shot on net, called his own performance “terrible.”

Keenan shifted the burden of responsibility to his players Sunday.

“The team should be prepared to respond to any situation that arises,” Keenan said. “Be prepared to play to their level of ability and the expectations we have of them and more importantly what they have of themselves.”

Calgary can draw confidence from two previous wins at home this series and a regular-season record of 27-10-4 at the Pengrowth Saddledome. The Flames are hurting, however, which hampers their ability to play the physical brand of hockey that can contain the fleet-footed Blackhawks.

Dion Phaneuf is the latest to join Calgary’s walking wounded. With about eight minutes remaining Saturday, Chicago’s Troy Brouwer levelled Phaneuf after the Flames defenceman unloaded a shot on net. Phaneuf wobbled to the bench and did not return to the game.

Phaneuf didn’t speak to reporters Sunday and Keenan’s assessment of him was “day to day,” which has been the coach’s standard response for any Flames injury this post-season.

The Flames didn’t skate Sunday on their return from Chicago. The Blackhawks cancelled their scheduled practice and headed to Calgary.

Calgary managed just 20 shots on Nikolai Khabibulin in Game 5, partly because of the Flames’ injuries woes up front.

Forwards Rene Bourque, Craig Conroy and Daymond Langkow were in the lineup Saturday, but their fitness is in doubt. Bourque is believed to have aggravated an ankle injury that sidelined him the final 24 games of the regular season. Langkow took a shot off the hand in the third period and Conroy had played just the first period of Game 4.

But Calgary has other weapons in its arsenal that aren’t firing. After a three-point, plus-four Game 4, centre Olli Jokinen had no points, looked lost on two Chicago goals and finished minus-two Saturday.

Mike Cammalleri, the Flames leading goal-scorer with 39 during the regular season, has one goal in five playoff games. Phaneuf, an offensive defenceman whose health was questionable even heading into this series, Curtis Glencross and Todd Bertuzzi have none.

“We do have depth and we do have more depth than we’ve had in a long time and now is the time for it,” Iginla said. “There’s no time for excuses. Hopefully Dion is back and feeling great for next game, but if not, we still need to find a way to win.”

Just Posted

Red Deer ‘champion’ helps hospital by sharing ongoing petition

It’s been about three years since many physicians at Red Deer Regional… Continue reading

Trudeau sees 2019 election as choice between positive Liberals, divisive Tories

OTTAWA — Justin Trudeau says he’s confident he’ll win re-election next fall… Continue reading

Rural transit service rolled out

2A South Regional Transit will link Innisfail and Penhold with Red Deer

Some Red Deer waste collection schedules change due to holiday season

Tuesday collections will be moved for two weeks

Red Deer Airport’s prospects are looking up for 2019

Ultra-low-cost passenger service is on the horizon

Alberta’s Sundial starts shipping to AGLC this week

Sundial’s Rocky View facility has received the green light from Health Canada… Continue reading

Penny Marshall dead at 75, best known as TV’s Laverne and director of ‘Big,’ ‘A League of Their Own’

Bronx-born Penny Marshall, who found ’70s sitcom success on “Laverne and Shirley”… Continue reading

Chabot scores overtime winner to lift Senators over Predators 4-3

OTTAWA — Thomas Chabot saw an opening and he took it. And… Continue reading

Canadian Marielle Thompson earns World Cup ski cross bronze in season opener

AROSA, Switzerland — Canada’s Marielle Thompson captured bronze at the opening World… Continue reading

Canada doesn’t make Oscars short list for best foreign language film

LOS ANGELES — Canada is no longer in the running for best… Continue reading

Warrant issued for arrest of ‘Schwimmer lookalike’ suspect

LONDON — A British judge has issued an arrest warrant for an… Continue reading

Moneywise: Canadian workers unhappy with pay, want pension plans

Many working Canadians are feeling underpaid and are so worried about their… Continue reading

Brazil police say faith healer has turned himself in

RIO DE JANEIRO — A celebrity faith healer accused of sexually abusing… Continue reading

B.C. hockey coach creates ‘gear library’ to remove cost barrier of sport

VANCOUVER — Nicola Froese says she has always loved playing sports, but… Continue reading

Most Read