The Calgary Flames took care of business at home on Friday before hitting the road for a few games. The task gets a little daunting right off the bat tonight as they aim for their first victory against the Ducks at Anaheim in over eight years.
The Flames put the brakes on a two-game losing streak on Friday with a 3-1 win over the Blackhawks. It was also Calgary's first victory in its past four home games and has the club tied for 11th in the Western Conference with 54 points, four shy of a playoff spot.
On a night when he became Calgary's all-time leader in games played by a goaltender, Miikka Kiprusoff made 26 saves in his 299th career win. He passed Mike Vernon's previous mark of 526 games played.
Getting the goals for the Flames were Olli Jokinen, Jay Bouwmeester and Jarome Iginla, who netted his team-leading 19th of the season and 503 of his career. He has at least 20 tallies in all but one of his previous 14 NHL seasons.
After picking up a win over the struggling Blackhawks, the Flames hit the road for three straight and have won two in a row as the guest following a six-game slide away from Calgary. Head coach Brent Sutter hopes that Friday's triumph gave his club some momentum for its trip.
"You're playing a very good hockey team that's coming off a tough loss and we knew they were going to come here ready to play," Sutter said about Chicago. "We also knew that we had lost three in a row at home and we wanted to get back on track before we hit the road."
The Flames haven't won in Anaheim since Jan. 19, 2004, dropping their last 13 trips there. Four of their past five defeats in Orange County have come beyond regulation, including both trips there a season ago as part of a four-game sweep by the Ducks.
Even if it comes after regulation, Anaheim will look for a much-needed two points this evening as it sits 14th out of 15 teams in the West with 46 points. That has the Ducks 12 points back of the eight spot in the conference.
The Ducks missed a chance to pick up two points on Friday against the NHL's last-place club, falling 3-2 in overtime to the visiting Blue Jackets. Jonas Hiller made 18 saves, but couldn't stop Columbus' Derick Brassard on a 2-on-1 break at 3:55 of the extra frame.
"We were ready but a couple of mistakes cost us," Ducks defenseman Cam Fowler said. "We didn't play to our capability tonight. A loss is a loss. We got one point but we needed two."
Teemu Selanne scored both goals for the Ducks, who have lost the first two of four straight at home and three of four overall. Selanne, who leads the Ducks with 49 points, has 655 career goals, which leaves him one back of Brendan Shanahan for 12th on the all-time list.
The Ducks are still 9-2-2 in their past 13 games and that span includes a 1-0 overtime loss to the Flames in Calgary on Jan. 12 in the first of four meetings. Blair Jones had the OT winner for the Flames 1:51 into the bonus period, while Kiprusoff made 23 saves in his third shutout of the season.
Hiller stopped 18 shots in the loss, just Anaheim's third in its past 11 versus Calgary.