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Flames enter ‘make-or-break’ stage of marathon road-trip

WASHINGTON — For his or her prized commerce acquisitions, they ensured it was a contented homecoming.

With a group feast deliberate for American Thanksgiving, they have been intending on a contented vacation.

You are reading: Flames enter ‘make-or-break’ stage of marathon road-trip

Now, as they wrap their longest road-trip of the season with back-to-back matinees, the Calgary Flames are decided to creator a contented ending.

The Flames have thus far collected 5 of a doable eight factors on this gruelling six-game getaway. If they’ll increase that complete to eight or 9, it might be thought of a really profitable sojourn.

“I believe it’s a great journey thus far … ” mentioned Flames defenceman MacKenzie Weegar. “However I don’t assume it’s an excellent journey, by any means.”

Not but.

Nevertheless it may very well be.

“Completely, if we win the following two video games, it’s a nice journey,” Weegar nodded. “Washington and Carolina are two powerful groups, each playoff groups. It’s not going to be straightforward, however I believe we now have the group in right here to do it.”

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It’s traditionally been a great omen to be in a post-season perch at U.S. Thanksgiving, and the Flames awakened Thursday within the first wildcard slot within the NHL’s Western Convention with a 9-7-3 mark.

As they hit the ice for an upbeat and up-tempo turkey day observe in D.C., they have been feeling significantly grateful for backup netminder Dan Vladar, who swiped a degree with a 38-save show-off in Wednesday’s 2-1 shootout loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins.

“Clearly, we’d prefer to have a greater sport in entrance of our goalie tomorrow,” mentioned Flames ahead Blake Coleman, waiting for a Black Friday faceoff with Alex Ovechkin and the Washington Capitals (Midday MT, Sportsnet/Sportsnet 960 The Fan). “However on the highway, typically you need to discover a approach to grease out factors and thus far we’ve been in a position to try this a little bit bit.”

The Flames began their travels with a loss in Tampa however rebounded for an emotional shootout triumph in Florida, a particular affair for Weegar and Jonathan Huberdeau as they confronted their previous group for the primary time.

They bagged one other two factors in Philly, then snagged a single within the Metal Metropolis.

Washington and Carolina — web site of Saturday’s showdown with the Hurricanes — are the 2 remaining stops on this prolonged jaunt, which can finally span 11 nights in resort beds and near 10,000 km within the air.

There have been loads of positives alongside the best way.

“I believe, to some extent, we’ve settled into some traces that we are able to work with and get conversant in,” mentioned Coleman, who has been skating alongside Mikael Backlund and Huberdeau. “Our goaltending has been good. We nonetheless have to restrict some probabilities towards, high-danger particularly, and perhaps particular groups can enhance, however I believe there have been a number of stepping-stones. It’s going the appropriate route right here, and these subsequent two video games are going to make-or-break our road-trip.”

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Certainly, 5 of a doable eight factors is a pleasant begin.

Nevertheless, 5 out a dozen received’t do.

“We’re in a great spot to have a profitable road-trip, however the final two video games are going to be key to ensure that occurs,” pressured Flames defence call-up Dennis Gilbert.

“Play arduous, play the appropriate manner and we must always get the outcome that we would like,” added alternate captain Chris Tanev, no worse for put on after a number of gutsy blocks towards the Penguins. “Nevertheless it’s that mentality that we have to have. We have to play like we did within the second and components of the third (in Pittsburgh), the place we pushed the play and have been aggressive and we have been up on their gamers.”

Whereas they appear to be trending upward, Weegar believes they’re able to extra.

“I believe we’re all sort of ready on one thing nice to occur,” he mentioned after Thursday’s observe at Capital One Area in Washington. “As a group, I believe it’s now to take yet another step ahead and actually push to be nice, relatively than being complacent with being good.

“We’re getting factors, which is an enormous factor. However in right here, everyone knows the expectations are a little bit increased.”

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