With the way Calgary closed out its recent seven-game road trip, the Flames will obviously be happy to be home tonight to host the rival Minnesota Wild at the Saddledome.
The Flames went on the lengthy road trip while their home building, along with Edmonton's Rexall Place, was used to host the 2012 World Junior Championship. Calgary began the epic swing with wins in Vancouver and Columbus, but posted an 0-4-1 mark in the final five tilts and lost the finale in Boston by an embarrassing 9-0 margin.
The five straight losses are a season-high for Calgary and it also marks the club's longest skid since an 0-6-3 drought from Jan. 11-28, 2010. The current losing streak also dropped the Flames to 8-14-3 as the guest, but Calgary enters tonight with a 10-5-2 record at home.
Thirteen different Bruins recorded at least a point in the defending Stanley Cup champion's dominating victory over the Flames on Thursday. Leland Irving started the game for Calgary, but was pulled early in the second period after allowing six goals on 21 shots. Miikka Kiprusoff stopped 18-of-21 shots the rest of the way.
"It was embarrassing," said Flames captain Jarome Iginla. "They're a good team, but we were terrible tonight."
Calgary defenseman Chris Butler had a particularly bad night for the Flames, as he finished the contest with a minus-seven rating. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, Butler was the first NHL player to post a minus-seven in a game since San Jose's Doug Wilson did it against Calgary on Feb. 19, 1993. Butler's awful night dropped him to a minus-four rating on the season.
Flames defenseman Scott Hannan sustained an upper body injury on Thursday and is questionable for tonight's game.
Calgary pulled off a minor trade on Friday, acquiring forward Blair Jones from Tampa Bay in exchange for defenseman Brendan Mikkelson. Jones has four goals and six assists over 78 career NHL games.
The Wild have not fared well in recent weeks either, having lost two straight and 10 of 11 games heading into tonight's road test. Although Minnesota is still second in the Northwest Division, the win drought has dropped the Wild five points in back of first-place Vancouver.
Minnesota's last game was Wednesday in Vancouver and the Canucks recorded a 3-0 decision as Roberto Luongo turned aside 28 shots for his second shutout of the season. Josh Harding was handed the hard-luck loss as he gave up two goals on 34 shots for the Wild.
"No satisfaction here," Harding said. "We've got to win."
The Wild have lost six straight(0-5-1) on the road, dropping them to 10-8-3 as the guest this season. Minnesota's next game will be Tuesday's home tilt against San Jose, but the Wild will head out on a four-game road trip after that.
Calgary has taken two of three from the Wild this season and the clubs have split the last eight encounters. The Flames had lost three straight on home ice to Minnesota before recording a 2-1 win on Dec. 20.