The Calgary Flames are thankful to be playing the Anaheim Ducks in the second half of a back-to-back set of road games.
The Tuesday clash in Anaheim allows the Flames (31-25-15, 77 points) to quickly put in the past their abysmal performance on Monday in an 8-2 beatdown at the hands of the Los Angeles Kings.
Given a chance to boost their flickering playoff hopes, the Flames delivered possibly their worst performance of the season in Los Angeles. Calgary remains four points out of a playoff spot with 11 games remaining.
"Obviously, not really much to say except that it was a terrible game by us," Flames defenseman Rasmus Andersson said.
The Flames trailed 4-0 by the end of the first period, a frame in which they managed only three shots on net. Calgary was held without a shot in the final 12:43 of the opening period.
"They jumped all over us, all over our mistakes we made in the first period," said Flames coach Darryl Sutter, whose team has surrendered 14 goals in the past two games. "This wasn't about energy. It was about getting outplayed."
As bleak as things looked immediately after the Los Angeles game, the Flames do have a 4-2-2 record in their past eight games and an opportunity to put themselves back on track against the bottom-feeding Ducks.
"For us to have any chance to make the playoffs here, we're going to have to work a lot harder and play our game (Tuesday)," Calgary forward Trevor Lewis said.
The Ducks (23-37-10, 56 points) officially were eliminated them from playoff contention for the fifth consecutive season on Sunday with a 2-1 loss to the visiting Vancouver Canucks, their third defeat in four games.
Anaheim was a long shot to make the playoffs with its rebuilding roster, but knowing it was a tall order did not take away the sting of knowing the playoff hopes were kaput.
"Everyone understands where we're at as a club, a team that's retooling and trying to shape things for the future," Ducks defenseman Cam Fowler said, according to the Orange County Register. "The guys in the locker room, we still had high expectations for ourselves this year and fell short.
"It's not a spot that we want to be in, but we have to do things the right way to prepare for the future. We've got a lot of belief in management and scouting and everything we have moving forward. That part is exciting."
Not all the news is bad for the Ducks. Young players, notably Trevor Zegras, Mason McTavish and Troy Terry, continue to develop. Terry is riding a four-game point streak in which he has collected two goals and five assists.
Anaheim has been competitive in the majority of its games.
"We've been on a decent stretch here the last 10 games. I think we started to move the needle in the right direction," Ducks forward Ryan Strome said. "Obviously this is a tough time of the season for us, as you get to Game 70, it's been a long, tough year. ... These 10, 12 games are a very important time to push the needle here."
--Field Level Media