FLAMES (12-15-2) at DUCKS (14-13-4)
TV -- SNET-Calgary (HD); PRIME (HD)
Last 10 -- Calgary 4-5-1; Anaheim 4-5-1
Season series -- The Western Conference rivals are meeting for the first of four times this season. The teams split four games last season, with each winning its two home games.
Big story -- Talk about a meeting between two teams having their ups and downs. The Flames bring a streak of alternating losses and wins to the back end of a tour through Southern California after a 2-1 loss at Los Angeles on Thursday. The Ducks are in a six-way tie for the last four playoff spots and are coming home for two important games this weekend. They host the Flames before Minnesota comes to Honda Center on Sunday -- followed by a seven-game trip that will keep them out of town until New Year's Eve.
Flames -- After generating four goals on just 19 shots in a 4-2 home victory against Tampa Bay on Tuesday, the Flames reverted to form in Los Angeles on Thursday, managing just one goal on 27 shots in a 2-1 loss to the Kings -- a team they'd beaten in 14 of their 18 previous meetings. Only a late power-play goal by Olli Jokinen prevented the Flames from being shut out.
Ducks -- Anaheim is back home after a two-game trip through Western Canada that featured a lot of extra hockey. The Ducks lost 5-4 in a shootout at Vancouver on Wednesday -- one night after a 3-2 victory at Edmonton that took a 10-round shootout.
The loss at Vancouver was a painful one -- not only did the Ducks blow a third-period lead, but they lost goaltender Curtis McElhinney, who left after being hit in the mask by a third-period shot.
"It's the worst thing that can happen to you as a backup, especially in a one-goal game," said Jonas Hiller, the Ducks' regular starter who was getting the night off but had to come in when McElhinney was hurt and couldn't hold the lead.. "It was not easy, but I thought I had a couple of good saves."
Who's hot -- Calgary captain Jarome Iginla has 7 points during a six-game points streak. … Anaheim's Teemu Selanne has scored in back-to-back games and has 6 points in four games since returning from a groin injury.
Injury report -- Flames defenseman Steve Staios (upper body) was placed on IR this week after taking a hard check Sunday against the Blackhawks. Forward Raitis Ivanans (head) has remained day-to-day since being injured on opening night. David Moss (illness) was expected to play Thursday but didn't. … The Ducks are getting healthy. Selanne (groin), Aaron Voros (flu) and Joffrey Lupul (back) all returned this week. McElhinney needed stitches after being hit in the mask in Vancouver but was able to make the trip home.
Stat pack -- The Flames haven't put two wins together since Oct. 24-26. … Anaheim forward Corey Perry will be playing his 400th NHL game. He got his 300th point in the game at Vancouver.
Puck drop -- With both teams outside the top eight in the West, it's the kind of game neither can afford to lose. The Ducks have gotten a boost from the return of Selanne and Lupul, giving them some offense from the second line to go along with their big line of Perry, Bobby Ryan and Ryan Getzlaf. The Flames continue to struggle offensively, putting a lot of pressure on goaltender Miikka Kiprusoff, who's had little room for error this season.