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Flames hope come-from-behind win in home opener is building block

Will try to break 25-game regular-season losing streak at Anaheim after rallying for first victory

by Tim Campbell @TimNHL / NHL.com Staff Writer

CALGARY -- With a visit to their personal house of horrors looming, the Calgary Flames knew they couldn't follow a season-opening loss with another defeat in their home opener.

The Flames visit the Anaheim Ducks on Monday (10 p.m. ET, SN-Flames, Prime, NHL.TV). They've lost 29 consecutive games at Honda Center, 22 in the regular season (0-17-5) and seven straight Stanley Cup Playoff games, since a 5-2 win April 25, 2006, in Game 3 of the Western Conference Quarterfinals.

In their season opener against the Edmonton Oilers on Wednesday, the Flames had few positives in a 3-0 loss at Rogers Place. Things were looking bleak for the Flames against the Winnipeg Jets in Calgary's home opener Saturday; they trailed 3-1 after one period. But the Flames, powered by four-point games from defenseman T.J. Brodie (two goals, two assists) and left wing Johnny Gaudreau (one goal, three assists), scored the last five goals of the game to defeat the Jets 6-3 at Scotiabank Saddledome.

 

[RELATED: Flames score five unanswered to surge past Jets]

 

The game at Anaheim, followed two nights later by a visit to the Los Angeles Kings, didn't seem as daunting after the comeback win.

"This was an important game for us here, to come out [with a win] and then go on the road; tough games against Anaheim and L.A.," Gaudreau said. "This was important, getting a huge win, and now it's a huge test for us Monday. We're looking forward to playing now on Monday."

The Flames have also lost three playoff series to the Ducks since the regular-season losing streak began in 2004 - in seven games in the Western Conference Quarterfinals in 2006, in five games in the Western Conference Second Round in 2015 and in four games in the first round in April. Calgary's road record against the Ducks in those three series: 1-7.

The sweep last spring only added to the sting the Flames have felt against the Ducks.

"We just have to play our game Monday," Gaudreau said. "I don't think it's a score to settle with them. Obviously we haven't won there in a long time, and it'll be nice to win there. But if we play our game and do the little things right that we did [against the Jets], I think we'll be successful."

Brodie's bounce-back game Saturday gave the Flames a boost.

Against the Oilers, he was outraced on several occasions by Edmonton captain Connor McDavid. One of them was a spectacular rink-long rush and goal by McDavid in the third period.

Video: WPG@CGY: Brodie nets his second goal through traffic

Forgetting those negatives was key, Brodie said.

"Stuff happens," he said. "You're going to get scored on. It's the nature of the League. I find when you make a mistake and then dwell on it, mistakes compound. The more quickly you forget about it and move on with the game, the better you will play."

Brodie said he's also eager to forget about the Flames' recent history with the Ducks.

"You want to win every game," Brodie said. "What happened last year (in the playoffs) is in the past, it's history, and this is a new year and we'll build off that."

Flames coach Glen Gulutzan has been looking for a glimpse of last season's strong finish and believes he finally saw some of that on Saturday.

"We had a very hard training camp, but I was waiting for this game to come out," Gulutzan said. "I think we were 40-23 (40-23-3) to end last season, and I was waiting for that game to come out. I think there's a lot of room for us to improve. But it's a good stepping stone."

Video: WPG@CGY: Gaudreau finds twine on Brodie's slick feed

Gulutzan was non-committal about dressing right wing Jaromir Jagr against the Ducks. Jagr signed a one-year contract worth $1 million on Wednesday and has practiced with the Flames since Thursday but hasn't played.

"I'm going to have to make choices depending on where Jags is at," he said. "But I'll wait until I go through the video again."

After Calgary's first victory in a home opener since defeating the Los Angeles Kings 3-1 on Oct. 10, 2010,

Gulutzan was cryptic about other demons he's looking forward to eliminating.

"We're trying to put a few things to bed here, hopefully sooner than later," he said. "(Winning a home opener for the first time in seven years) doesn't mean much to me but I'm glad to get it. Nice to get it. Hopefully it's a building block for us."

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