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The Calgary Flames knew they had to play better on the road this season. In accomplishing that, however, their play at home has slipped.
Calgary looks to match a franchise record with its seventh straight road victory Thursday night when it faces the Northwest Division rival Vancouver Canucks.
The Flames won a league-best 30 home games last season en route to the eighth seed in the Western Conference. As impressive as that total was, it was offset by a dismal 13-20-8 road record.
Calgary seems to be working in reverse this season, going 10-6-1 on the road while posting a disappointing 7-7-1 mark at home.
That trend has been very evident recently, with the Flames coming off back-to-back overtime losses at home against Dallas and New Jersey after completing a perfect six-game road trip with a 3-1 victory at Columbus on Dec. 18.
"We have to improve especially with the race being as tight as it is right now," Flames defenseman Robyn Regehr said. "You have to win hockey games and you have to do it consistently."
A victory Thursday would give Calgary (17-13-7) seven consecutive road wins for the first time since Nov. 10-Dec. 4, 1988.
Despite going winless in their last two contests, the Flames have at least a point in 11 straight games (7-0-4), tied for the third-longest run in team history. The record of 13 was established from Nov. 10-Dec. 8, 1988.
Miikka Kiprusoff was perfect until allowing Patrik Elias' goal 25 seconds into overtime Sunday in Calgary's 1-0 loss to the Devils.
"Certainly we did have opportunities, particularly with six power plays and didn't capitalize," coach Mike Keenan said. "We weren't able to score a power-play goal, which would have been paramount in this particular contest in view of the way Martin Brodeur was playing."
Flames captain Jarome Iginla has been held without a point in back-to-back games for the first time this season. He has eight goals and three assists during a five-game road point streak.
Iginla has no goals and two assists in three games - all losses - this season against Vancouver.
The Canucks have won seven of the last nine meetings, including a 4-1 home victory on Nov. 18 in the most recent matchup.
Vancouver (20-13-4), tied for the Northwest lead, had a three-game win streak snapped with a 3-1 loss to Colorado on Sunday.
Taylor Pyatt scored for the Canucks, who were playing their third game in four nights and were coming off a shootout win in Phoenix on Saturday.
"I thought our guys did everything they could," coach Alain Vigneault said. "We gave ourselves a chance, 1-1 going into the third and we had a couple of mistakes there. There was just not enough left in the tank for a team that was just waiting for us."
Pyatt scored a rare power-play goal for the Canucks, who are 2-for-22 with the man advantage in the last five games.
Adding to that problem is the absence of defenseman Mattias Ohlund, who sat out Saturday with back spasms. Ohlund has six of his 13 points on the power play.
Roberto Luongo is expected to start against the Flames for the fourth time this season. He is 3-0-0 with a 1.95 goals-against average in the first three meetings.