After capping a quick two-game road trip with what captain Jarome Iginla called the hardest loss his club has suffered this season, the Calgary Flames try to get on track at home Sunday night against the first- place Vancouver Canucks.
Following back-to-back home wins over Minnesota and Phoenix, the Flames visited the Wild and scored a first-period goal before getting shut down the rest of the way in a 2-1 overtime loss.
They came out hot in Colorado two days later on Thursday, getting first-period goals from Jay Bouwmeester, Mike Cammalleri and Iginla for a 3-0 lead. Iginla then made it 4-2 with a power-play goal in the second period, but the Avalanche scored three times in the final frame to rally and hand the Flames a 5-4 setback.
It was revenge on the ice for Colorado as Calgary had signed its restricted free agent Ryan O'Reilly to a two-year offer sheet earlier in the day. The Avs announced during the first intermission they had matched.
Joey MacDonald allowed all five goals on 36 shots in the setback, Calgary's fourth in six games.
"There is no excuses. It's terrible. It stinks. There is no way we shouldn't win that game," said Iginla, who has scored four of his five goals this season over the last three games.
"I think we stopped skating. I think we did everything you talk about not doing. You go into a shell, you shoot the puck away. We know we're supposed to play the same way, but we don't play the same way when we're up. That's as hard as any loss this year."
The Canucks were recently going through their own struggles, dropping decisions of 8-3 and 4-2 against Detroit and Phoenix before cooling off the Los Angeles Kings in Saturday's 5-2 win.
Dan Hamhuis, Mason Raymond and Jannik Hansen all had a goal and an assist versus the Kings, while Chris Higgins and Daniel Sedin added goals. Cory Schneider made 28 saves for a Vancouver club that had lost five of seven coming in but still leads the Northwest Division by four points.
"You need some scoring from everyone and we got that tonight," said Canucks forward Alexandre Burrows, who along with Henrik Sedin finished with two assists.
The Canucks have won eight of their last 11 versus the Flames, including the first two meetings of this season. Both of those wins came in Vancouver, with Schneider making 34 and 33 saves, respectively, in wins of 3-2 (shootout) and 5-1.
Vancouver has lost two straight in Calgary.