The Ducks haven't lost to the Calgary Flames at home in eight years (January 19, 2004), and keeping that streak going couldn't come at a more critical time.
The Ducks could desperately use a 14th straight home win over the Flames in their longshot fight to get into the Western Conference playoff race. Consecutive losses to Dallas and Columbus, both at Honda Center, haven't helped.
"It's kind of at that point now," center Ryan Getzlaf told the OC Register. "We've got to get our points, especially against these teams we're competing with. They're going to mean a lot down the stretch, that's for sure."
Anaheim did earn a point against the Blue Jackets in falling 3-2 in overtime, but needed two against the NHL's worst team, especially with just 31 games left in the season.
"We're in that position," coach Bruce Boudreau said. "We've just got to play one game at a time. You can't look at the big things because it'll be overwhelming if you look at the whole picture."
Sitting in 14th place in the West - and trailing the Wild by 12 points - the Ducks will likely need better special teams play if they're going to make a playoff push. Anaheim went 1 for 5 on the power play Saturday against the Blue Jackets' league-worst penalty kill unit.
"I told them, 'I don't know why I'm putting you guys back out there,"' Boudreau said. "'I must be a fool for punishment, but you're the best we have.'"
In the win column again following back-to-back losses, the Calgary Flames know they have to keep picking up points if they're going to make a move up the Western Conference standings.
Getting that done in Anaheim could prove difficult. Calgary (24-22-6) had dropped the first two contests on its three-game homestand following a 5-1-1 surge, but avoided a third consecutive loss with Friday's 3-1 victory over Chicago.
Regarding their losing ways in Anaheim, Flames captain Jarome Iginla told the Calgary Herald, "We go in with the mindset that we're due to win in there, right?"
The Flames, four points back of eighth-place Minnesota in the West, now open a three-game trip against Pacific Division opponents with their first of two visits to Anaheim this season.
"More than anything, we just have to climb," Iginla told the Flames' official website after scoring a goal and setting up another Friday. "We have to get ourselves on a roll here."
Calgary has won two straight road games after losing a season-high six straight as the away team, but the Flames are 0-8-4 in Anaheim including postseason since a 5-2 playoff victory April 25, 2006. The Ducks haven't lost a home game to Calgary in regular season play since Jan. 19, 2004.
Another solid performance by Miikka Kiprusoff could produce better results. The veteran netminder turned aside 26 shots Friday while breaking Mike Vernon's franchise record for goalies with 527 games played.
"With the goalie we have, he gives us a chance to win every night so it's not like we have to score four or five goals," Calgary center Olli Jokinen said of Kiprusoff, who is one victory shy of becoming the 27th goaltender with 300.
Kiprusoff made 23 saves in a 1-0 home win over the Ducks on Jan. 8, but he's 0-5-2 with a 3.90 goals-against average in eight starts in Anaheim since joining the Flames in 2003.
Kiprusoff lasted just 5:49 in Calgary's last visit, a 5-4 overtime loss March 20 in which he yielded three goals on five shots.
The Flames have fought off all 13 penalties over their last six games.
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