Red Wings' top priority: win Game 3
CALGARY, Alberta -- The Calgary Flames were a poor road team all season, so the way they played in losing the first two games of their series with Detroit was no surprise.
To have any chance against the top-seeded Red Wings in the first round of the Western Conference playoffs, the Flames will now have to be just as good at home as they were during the regular season.
The Flames host the Wings in Game 3 on Tuesday night after being beaten 4-1 and 3-1 at the Joe Louis Arena.
Calgary had the most home wins in the league during the regular season with 30, including two against Detroit. The Flames won only 13 on the road.
"Coming home doesn't count for anything," Flames head coach Jim Playfair said. "Coming home and being committed to being a hardworking team gives us a chance."
And all the adrenaline the home crowd can give the Flames won't mean much if Calgary doesn't improve on their performance in Detroit.
Flames goaltender Miikka Kiprusoff kept those two losses from becoming blowouts, facing a total of 97 shots.
Detroit is showing no signs of their first-round swoons of recent postseasons. So far, this series has looked very much like No. 1 versus No. 8 in the Western Conference.
The Wings have been faster and in control of the puck more often.
"We've been playing the way we wanted to play, but I think we can control the game for 60 minutes even better," Detroit captain Nicklas Lidstrom said.
At home, Calgary will have the right of last line change, which could free captain Jarome Iginla from the clutches of Lidstrom. Iginla has two shots on goal this series.
"We do have to find ways to have the puck," Iginla said. "We're not getting the shots and they are and the big reason is they have it."
And with Detroit bottling up Iginla, Calgary needs more than a combined six shots from Alex Tanguay, Kristian Huselius and Daymond Langkow.
"Obviously I think Jarome has a lot more to give," Playfair said. "Their top players have outplayed our top players."
The Flames have to cycle the puck more effectively through the offensive zone and get more shots on Detroit goaltender Dominik Hasek, who has faced 35 in two games.
"Get pucks to Hasek from every possible angle." Playfair said. "You're not going to score on Dominik Hasek very often on your first shot.
"It's going to be second shot, your third shot. Maybe he doesn't have his stick in his hand by the time you score because you keep pounding away on it."
Hasek expects to see more rubber in Game 3.
"I think these games are going to be a little bit different and I can expect more than 20 shots," he said. "They'll be home and will be throwing everything at us, so I expect more traffic and more work for me this time."
It's difficult for Iginla to shoot at Hasek when he's on the bench watching his team kill penalties. The Flames took five penalties of in the first eight minutes of Game 2.
The Flames' lack of discipline has hampered their ability to generate momentum and has allowed Wings power-play quarterback Mathieu Schneider to tee up the puck a lot from the point.
Detroit led 2-0 after the first periods of both games. The second goals have stood up as game-winners and both came when Flames were in the penalty box.
"Put a team like Detroit on the power play, they are going to kill you every time," Flames winger Tony Amonte said.
As much as Detroit outplayed Calgary in the first two games of the series, the Red Wings know the Flames can take some momentum back with a win at the Saddledome.
"In all my years of coaching, as long as teams hold serve at home, it makes it a long series, so you're going to have to find a way to win on the road," Detroit coach Mike Babcock said.
NOTES: Flames defenseman Robyn Regehr (knee) and Red Wings forward Todd Bertuzzi (concussion) will be game-time decisions. Bertuzzi sounded more hopeful than Regehr that he would play Tuesday