Loss in Calgary would shift home-ice edge

Updated: April 27, 2004, 3:20 PM ET
Associated Press

CALGARY, Alberta -- The Calgary Flames fought very hard down the stretch to earn their first trip to the playoffs in eight years.

If they want to hang around longer, they will need to take care of the Detroit Red Wings at home beginning Tuesday night in Game 3 of the second-round series.

"We've had a lot of big games, but none bigger than this one," Flames center Craig Conroy said Monday after a light practice.

The series is tied 1-1 and very much up for grabs. But a Flames loss at home will give the top-seeded Red Wings new life.

"We know they have that killer instinct," Conroy said. "We have to come out and establish something to give us a little more confidence."

Shean Donovan admitted the Flames will have something to prove after losing 5-2 in Detroit on Saturday.

"We'll be fired up because we were a little embarrassed after the last game," he said.

Miikka Kiprusoff allowed four or more goals only five times during the regular season and three times in the playoffs. He has bounced back to win the next game five times, including twice in the postseason. In four of those follow-up wins, he allowed just one goal.

"The whole team has to play better, and I have to do better, too," he said.

Detroit's Steve Yzerman said the Red Wings still haven't figured Kiprusoff out.

"We haven't played against him enough to get a good feel," said Yzerman, who scored twice Saturday. "When you play against a goalie a lot, you know his positioning in the net, you know how he stands. We haven't faced him enough to really get a feel for him. The best thing we can do is not think and just shoot the puck."

One thing the Flames need to do is figure out a way to get leading scorer Jarome Iginla out of the clutches of Detroit's Grind Line. The unit of Kirk Maltby, Kris Draper and Yzerman prevented Iginla from recording a shot on net Saturday.

"We plan on getting a lot more done than we have and getting more chances," said Iginla, who had only two shots in Calgary's 2-1 overtime victory in the series opener. "We're going to have to skate more."

Darryl Sutter, Calgary's coach and general manager, gave a terse response when asked if he plans to use his last line change to try to keep Iginla away from the restrictive Red Wings.

"I'm not taking Jarome off the ice for them," he said.

Conroy said it's up to him and left winger Oleg Saprykin to take some of the focus off Iginla.

"We have to create things ourselves instead of just trying to get it to Jarome," Conroy said.

Always-smiling Iginla denied his team's confidence has waned.

"It's not frustrating," he said. "It's 1-1 in the series. Nobody expected it to be easy."

Calgary defenseman Rhett Warrener, who left Saturday's game after he was hit in the eye and on the nose by Yzerman's stick, didn't practice Monday but expects to play.

"It's just a matter of letting it heal a little bit more, and I'm sure I'll have a shield on, too," he said.

Warrener isn't worried about the Flames caving in to the NHL's top regular-season team.

"We've bounced back before," he said. "The big thing with us right now is we haven't played as well as we can. I don't think in Game 1 or Game 2 we played our system or played as well as I think we can."


Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press

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