A resurgent Dominik Hasek has the Detroit Red Wings on the verge of the longest winning streak in the franchise's storied history.
To earn their 10th consecutive victory, Hasek and the Wings (12-4-1) will have to defeat another streaking team and red-hot goalie when they face the Calgary Flames (8-7-2) and Miikka Kiprusoff at the Pengrowth Saddledome on Friday night.
The 41-year-old Hasek has been instrumental during Detroit's run, winning seven of the nine games and posting a 1.29 goals-against average. Hasek, who had lost three in a row before Detroit's run began, extended his career-best shutout streak to 181 minutes, 17 seconds before allowing a power-play goal 7:49 into the second period of the Wings' 3-2 victory over Vancouver on Tuesday night.
"Really, I didn't know that," said Hasek, whose previous best shutout streak of 178:33 came while playing for Buffalo during the 2000-01 season. "Of course I appreciate every shutout, but the win is more important."
The 15-year veteran is likely to be in goal again as Detroit goes for the record. The Wings have won nine in a row five times previously, most recently from Oct. 13-Nov. 1, 2005.
Detroit has helped its goalie out with stellar defensive play in front of him. Hasek hasn't faced more than 23 shots during the win streak, and stopped only 18 shots Tuesday in the victory over the Canucks.
Now Detroit will be looking to knock off Calgary for the second time during its win streak. Hasek made 31 saves to outplay Kiprusoff in a 3-2 home win Nov. 1, the Wings' fourth straight victory.
That was the third consecutive loss in a four-game slide for the Flames, but they've since turned it around, and have also been led by their goalie.
Kiprusoff, the reigning Vezina winner, made 24 saves for his second shutout in three starts Tuesday night, beating St. Louis 3-0 for Calgary's fifth straight victory.
The Flames moved above .500 for the first time this season.
"I'm happy how I've been playing and the team's been playing better, too," said Kiprusoff, who has a 1.00 GAA while starting every game during the win streak in this stretch. "We've been playing better and better night after night. That's a good sign."
Before this streak, Kiprusoff had lost three straight and six of seven starts.
"We dug ourselves a hole early in the season, but now we're finally starting to see light at the end of the tunnel," said Flames left wing Alex Tanguay, who has two assists in each of his last three games. "It's nice to score but the biggest thing is we keep winning."
Calgary has outscored opponents 15-1 in five-on-five play during the streak. The Flames have gone more than 285 minutes since surrendering an even-strength goal.
"It's a reflection of our team," Calgary coach Jim Playfair said. "If you look at our five-on-five play, Miikka gives the team the confidence because our starting point is always with our goaltender out and the team builds off that."
Kiprusoff is 3-5-1 with one tie and a 2.74 GAA in 10 games against Detroit, while Hasek is 8-5-0 with one tie and a 2.07 GAA in 14 contests against the Flames.