The Calgary Flames have not lost at home in six weeks. Problem is, they haven't won away from home in more than a month, and now the team is headed out on its longest road trip of the season.
The Flames begin that stretch on Thursday by facing the last team they beat on the road when they meet the Vancouver Canucks.
While looking for its third win in as many meetings this season with its Northwest Division rival, Calgary (15-10-3) tries to avoid its second five-game road losing streak. The Flames notched their last road win with a 3-2 victory over the Canucks (15-15-1) on Nov. 11.
These teams also meet in Calgary on Dec. 26, the Flames' first contest following this six-game road swing. They'll play Phoenix on Saturday before visiting Anaheim, Los Angeles, Colorado and San Jose next week.
While Calgary only has three road wins all season (3-7-3), the team has lost only three home games (12-3-0).
The Flames established a franchise record with their 10th consecutive win at home on Tuesday, defeating the Minnesota Wild 5-2.
"We've been fortunate to play well at home," left wing Alex Tanguay told the Flames' official Web site. "Now, we have to make sure to take care of our games on the road."
Jarome Iginla, who leads Calgary with 18 goals and 37 points, tied a career high with four points Tuesday by contributing two goals and two assists.
Iginla scored for the sixth straight game, a streak during which he has seven goals and six assists.
"He's got all the tools to be the best power forward in the game, and the way he's playing right now, there's nobody that plays that role any better," said Tanguay, who recorded his first three-point game of the season with a goal and two assists.
Iginla has a goal in three straight games against Vancouver, totaling seven points in that span. Three of those came on Wednesday in the Flames' 5-3 home win over the Canucks. The right wing has 42 career points - his second-highest total against any opponent - in 48 meetings with the Canucks.
Goaltender Miikka Kiprusoff has been in goal for the Flames' two wins versus the Canucks this season, stopping 52 of 57 shots.
It's hard to blame Kiprusoff for the team's recent road woes, having allowed no more than three goals in seven straight starts away from home. He is among the league leaders with a 2.04 goals-against average this season after stopping 24 shots in Tuesday's victory.
Vancouver has alternated wins and losses in its last eight games, but has won its last two at home, including Tuesday's 5-2 victory over the Phoenix Coyotes. The team scored four goals in the first period while improving to 9-7-0 at GM Place.
"It's starting to come around, guys are relaxing and starting to play better," defenseman Kevin Bieksa said.
The Canucks matched their highest-scoring game of the season. Vancouver is averaging 2.62 goals this season, and after scoring only five goals in a six-game span, it has 12 in the last three outings.
"There's no question we've struggled all year - it's been well documented," center Brendan Morrison said. "Sometimes we get caught up in other people telling us what we can't do and we start believing it."
Goaltender Roberto Luongo has started each of Vancouver's home games, posting a 2.40 GAA. He has not won consecutive starts since winning three straight from Nov. 17-Nov. 22.
Luongo looks to end a personal four-game winless streak against the Flames, going 0-3-1 with a 3.97 GAA.
|Mar 31 '07||CGY 3 at VAN 2||K. Huselius|
|Feb 03 '07||VAN 3 at CGY 4||K. Huselius|
|Jan 02 '07||VAN 3 at CGY 2||A. Burrows|
|Dec 27 '06||CGY 5 at VAN 6 - OT||S. Salo|
|Dec 26 '06||VAN 3 at CGY 1||D. Sedin|
|Dec 14 '06||CGY 1 at VAN 3||H. Sedin|
|Dec 09 '06||VAN 3 at CGY 5||M. Lombardi|
|Nov 11 '06||CGY 3 at VAN 2||K. Huselius|