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Slumping Calgary Flames fight off boobirds after latest home loss

CALGARY - The Calgary Flames plan to use their upcoming two-game road trip to get fans back on their side.

In the wake of a 2-0 loss at home to the St. Louis Blues on Monday night, where many of the 19,289 fans in attendance at the Pengrowth Saddledome showed their unrest by booing the Flames off the ice, captain Jarome Iginla urged fans to remain faithful.

"They're disappointed and we know they're frustrated that we're not scoring any goals," said Iginla, who has no goals and just three assists in his past 11 contests. "We're going to come out of it.

"They want to see wins, they want to see goals, they want to have things to cheer about. We're not giving them enough to get off their seats."

Simply put, the Flames haven't even come close to generating enough offence to stay competitive with their opponents during their current seven-game losing streak.

"In the last seven games we've scored nine goals," pointed out Calgary coach Brent Sutter, who's hoping his Flames get back on track during back-to-back games in Dallas and Phoenix before returning home to face the Edmonton Oilers on Saturday night. "That says something.

"It's hard enough on everybody right now. We know what our major issue is and we've got to continue to try and rectify that."

Since winning five straight games between Dec. 28 and Jan. 5, the Flames (26-20-6) have gone 1-8-1 to fall from first to third in the Northwest Division and third to ninth overall in the Western Conference.

Calgary's recent swoon started at home on Jan. 11 with a 3-2 shootout loss to the Colorado Avalanche in which the Flames outshot the Avs by a 46-21 margin. In the six games since then, the Flames have outshot their opponents four times, but have been unable to consistently convert their scoring opportunities.

"That's kind of the bounces we've been getting lately," said forward Brandon Prust, who's gone 38 games without a goal since scoring during a 5-3 win over the Vancouver Canucks in Calgary's first game of the season at home on Oct. 1. "They're not bouncing into the net for us. It's definitely tough."

Prust couldn't fault Calgary fans for booing after Monday's loss to the Blues, who sit third last in the Western Conference with 54 points, just four behind the Flames.

"It's tough, but rightfully so," said the bruising winger, who dropped the gloves for a spirited fight with St. Louis forward Cam Janssen to try and energize his team and the fans. "We haven't been putting a lot of pucks in the net lately. I don't think anybody's more frustrated than us. They're obviously going to boo us, that's what fans do. They want wins and they want goals."

After Monday's setback, Sutter said he didn't want to be negative and instead focused on the positive fact that the Flames fired 34 shots on net at St. Louis goalie Ty Conklin, who played well to pitch the shutout.

"We certainly had opportunities," Sutter said. "It's just not happening around the net for us. I thought things that we did the last three days in practice, we did generate stuff off that but the puck didn't go in the net."

Iginla and Dion Phaneuf led the Flames with five shots on net each against the Blues and both took six other shots that were either blocked or missed the net.

"We're definitely not happy with the outcome, but we have to stick with it, stick together and keep getting pucks on net," said Phaneuf.

"It's disappointing, yes, but the way the schedule is in this league you can move forward very quickly and we have to move forward quickly as a group."

Fellow defenceman Adam Pardy agreed with Phaneuf that the Flames have to stick together through the tough times.

"We've got to make sure we regroup tomorrow and keep our chins high and our chest out and make sure we're not letting it slide too much longer," Pardy said.

Sutter reiterated that the Flames can't feel sorry for themselves during their slump.

"I'll tell you want, there's certainly no one feeling sorry for us," he said. "We've just got to keep forging ahead. That's the only way it's going to get done."


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