So far this season, the Calgary Flames have managed to avoid any lengthy losing streaks. Facing the surging Florida Panthers, however, could make continuing that trend a bit more difficult.
As they try avoid their first three-game losing skid of 2008-09, the Flames will attempt to slow a Panthers team that seeks its sixth win in seven games on Friday night.
After losing 4-1 at Montreal on Tuesday, the Flames (16-11-2) squandered a two-goal advantage Wednesday night in Detroit en route to a 4-3 overtime defeat. In doing so, they missed an opportunity to tie Vancouver for the Northwest Division.
David Moss had a goal and an assist and Dion Phaneuf provided two assists in Wednesday's loss, while backup Curtis McElhinney stopped 35 Red Wings shots in his third appearance of the season for Calgary, which rested Miikka Kiprusoff after he'd made 13 straight starts.
"(McElhinney) played very well, very well," said Phaneuf, who has 10 assists over his last eight games. "We didn't give him enough to get the victory."
Phaneuf and the Flames have dropped consecutive games four other times this season - although not since Nov. 8-9. In each instance, they recovered to win the next contest and avoid a three-game losing streak. Calgary hasn't dropped three in a row since an 0-3-1 slide from Jan. 8-15 last season.
Meanwhile, Florida (13-12-3) has won five of its last six. The Panthers were outshot 41-16 at Edmonton on Thursday night, but emerged with a 2-0 victory after Craig Anderson made 41 saves.
"We're going good," said center Stephen Weiss, who scored for the second straight game and is tied for the team lead with 16 points. "We're doing the little things really well. We're blocking shots and everyone's on the same page and we're all moving in the right direction, the same direction.
"When you get 20 guys playing that way, you're going to have a good chance to win every night. With the goaltending we're getting, hopefully we can just keep going."
Anderson has had several spectacular performances this season, as he's made more than 40 saves in four of his eight wins. His three shutouts are already a career high, and he boasts a 1.94 goals-against average and .946 save percentage. He's been taking time away lately from Tomas Vokoun, who is 5-10-0 and hasn't started since Nov. 26.
Vokoun has had success against Calgary, though, going 11-3-1 with three ties, a shutout and a 1.97 GAA in 20 lifetime matchups.
It's been one year and one day since these teams last met. The Flames won 2-1 in a shootout at Florida on Dec. 11, 2007, their third consecutive victory over the Panthers since a 3-0 defeat Nov. 9, 2002.
Flames captain Jarome Iginla scored the game-tying goal in last season's matchup. He has eight goals and six assists in his last 11 games versus the Panthers.
Kiprusoff has allowed just one goal on 61 shots in winning two career starts versus the Panthers.