In the midst of their longest losing streak in more than seven years, the Calgary Flames have slipped to the edge of the playoff picture, and were booed off their own ice after their latest defeat.
They'll try again to find some answers and snap their six-game slide as the St. Louis Blues begin a three-game trip through western Canada in Calgary on Monday night.
The Flames' last five losses have come in regulation, and their offense continued to sputter in a 3-1 home loss to Chicago on Thursday night. They totaled 20 shots on goal and were held to one goal or fewer for the fourth time in their last five games.
Captain and leading scorer Jarome Iginla was held without a goal for the 10th straight game, and he's totaled just two assists in his last nine contests. Iginla hasn't gone 11 consecutive games without a goal since the start of the 1999-00 season.
"We're squeezing a little hard and not making the passes and looking like we were standing still," Iginla said. "A lot of times when it looks like you're standing still, it's because you're thinking and you're trying too hard and you're pressing."
That trend may be even worse at home, where the Flames are 0-4-1 in their last five home games, totaling two goals in the last three. The sellout crowd expressed its displeasure after the loss to the Blackhawks.
Calgary (26-19-6) had the NHL's second-best winning percentage at home over the previous three seasons, and it hasn't gone six straight without a win at the Saddledome since an 0-4-2 stretch with four ties Oct. 21-Dec. 4, 2000.
The overall losing streak for Calgary is its longest since a seven-game skid Nov. 7-21, 2002, and it has dropped the team into a tie for eighth place in the Western Conference with Detroit, putting the Flames' string of five straight postseason appearances in jeopardy.
"We really have to find a way to start winning a lot of games and winning a lot of games in a row to get back in this thing," center Craig Conroy said.
St. Louis (22-21-8) faces an even steeper climb after its inconsistency cost former coach Andy Murray his job on Jan. 2. New coach Davis Payne led the Blues on a four-game winning streak earlier this month, but they have followed that up by dropping three of four.
Saturday night's 4-3 shootout loss to Anaheim was especially disheartening after the Blues blew a 3-0 lead in the final 15 minutes of regulation and were outshot 17-3 in the third period.
"If you don't play your game, you can't expect results," Payne said. "We didn't play our game in the third period."
A trip to western Canada wouldn't normally help matters for a struggling team, but the Blues are tied for the NHL's worst home record and they swept through Alberta and British Columbia last month.
After wins at Vancouver and Edmonton, they beat the Flames 2-1 in a shootout on Dec. 23 -- their second straight win at the Saddledome after losing their previous seven there. The Blues visit the Canucks and Oilers again later this week.