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Flames try to snap a pair of skids in Chicago

The Calgary Flames will try to avoid a season-high fourth straight loss and eighth in a row at Chicago this evening as they battle the Blackhawks at the United Center.

Following a perfect three-game homestand, the Flames have notched an 0-1-2 record on a four-game swing and are just 6-9-2 as the guest this season. They lost their second straight game beyond regulation on Friday, falling 3-2 at Florida in a shootout.

Olli Jokinen had a goal and an assist against his former team and Rene Bourque also scored for Calgary, which hasn't lost four straight since Jan. 3-11 of last season.

Leland Irving, the 26th overall pick of the 2006 draft, made his NHL debut and stopped 39 shots. Despite the shootout, nerves weren't an issue for the 23- year-old.

"After the first two shots the adrenaline took over," said Irving, who was beaten twice in the shootout. "I just tried to keep it simple and not try to overplay the puck. It's kind of a blur right now. It would have been nice to get the two points, but we'll go back and look at the video and see what we can work on."

Jarome Iginla added an assist and has rattled off five goals and 11 points over his last eight games.

While the Flames are hoping to avoid their longest losing streak of the campaign, the Blackhawks will try to stretch their current run of victories to a season-high five straight. They are 6-0-1 in December and sit a point back of the Wild for first place in the Western Conference.

Ray Emery has been in net for all four games of Chicago's current season high- tying win streak in place of the struggling Corey Crawford. Emery made 24 saves and had an assist in Friday's 4-1 victory over the Ducks and took a shutout into the game's final two minutes.

"We didn't give them opportunities off our mistakes and we took advantage of their mistakes," Emery said after moving to 8-1-2 on the season with a 2.54 goals-against average.

Patrick Sharp and Marian Hossa both logged a goal and an assist, with Sharp having now registered seven goals and five assists over an eight-game point streak. Jamal Mayers snapped a 24-game goal drought and Dave Bolland also lit the lamp.

Chicago upped its home record to 10-2-3 this year and played without winger Daniel Carcillo, who is day-to-day with an upper-body injury.

These two clubs have split a pair of meetings this year, with each team winning once on home ice. The Flames haven't won in Chicago since March 16, 2008 and the Blackhawks have won 11 of the past 14 encounters overall.

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