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Sliding Blackhawks make a stop in Calgary

Chicago has not gotten its club record-tying road trip off to the best of starts and a trip to Calgary may not be the remedy it is looking for.

The Blackhawks try to avoid a season-high fifth straight loss overall and seventh on the road as they visit a Flames club that continues to struggle scoring at home.

Chicago is playing the third of nine in a row on the road, losing an overtime test in Vancouver on Tuesday prior to last night's 8-4 defeat in Edmonton. The Blackhawks are 0-4-2 in their past six away from Chicago overall and haven't won as the guest since Dec. 14.

It was a one-man show in Edmonton last night, with the Oilers' Sam Gagner matching an Oiler record with eight points off four goals and four assists. He tied a mark held by greats Wayne Gretzky and Paul Coffey.

"What can you say about a game like that," said Chicago forward Patrick Sharp. "That guy (Gagner) had the magic touch tonight."

Sharp's touch wasn't too bad either as he logged a pair of goals, one shorthanded, while Jamal Mayers and Dave Bolland also scored in defeat. Chicago has dropped nine of its past 14 overall to slip six points behind Detroit for first place in the Central Division.

The Blackhawks will hope to avoid posting their first five-game slide since March 13-20, 2009 and will look for better goaltending this evening. Starter Corey Crawford was pulled in the third after allowing five goals on 28 shots, while Ray Emery yielded three tallies on 13 shots.

Chicago also lost forward Andrew Brunette with an upper-body injury.

Calgary will be looking to salvage the finale of a three-game homestand following losses to San Jose and Detroit. After getting shut out by the Sharks prior to the All-Star break, the Flames were dealt a 3-1 loss by the Red Wings on Tuesday.

Michael Cammalleri had the lone goal for Calgary, which has lost four of six overall and sits five points out of a playoff spot.

"We had some darn good opportunities and we didn't capitalize," said Calgary head coach Brent Sutter. "It's not like we're not getting opportunities and we had three or four quality scoring chances where we missed the net and didn't even get a rebound out of it."

Miikka Kiprusoff matched Mike Vernon's club record for games played by a goaltender with 526, a mark he will likely break this evening. He gave up three goals on 25 shots in Tuesday's loss.

Calgary also lost a key forward on Tuesday, with Lee Stempniak suffering a high ankle sprain that will keep him out of action for approximately six weeks.

The Flames have been held to just 55 goals at home this year, tied with Columbus for the fewest in the league, but did log a 5-2 home win over the Blackhawks back on Nov. 18.

Chicago, though, has a pair of home victories over the Flames this season as well and has won 12 of the past 15 encounters overall despite a three-game slide in Calgary.

Marian Hossa has logged a pair of goals and three assists versus the Flames this year, with teammates Sharp and Jonathan Toews adding four assists each.

Curtis Glencross and Olli Jokinen have logged five points each for Calgary versus Chicago this season, but Glencross has missed the past four games with a left MCL ailment.