Getting a result in Anaheim has always been a struggle for the Flames, though head coach Brent Sutter wasn’t aware just how big a struggle it’s been.
“There’s always buildings where you don’t have things go the way you want them to, for whatever reason,” Sutter told the Calgary Herald. “I didn’t know it was 50 years [since the last win].”
Okay, so it’s not quite 50 years — the Flames last won in Anaheim in Jan. 2004 — but you can forgive Sutter for thinking it’s been that long. Calgary is 0-9-4 in its last 13 appearances in Anaheim and 1-13-9 in its last 23 games there, a record so bad it almost requires comedic relief.
[In that vein, something amusing: The last time the Flames won in Anaheim, Pittsburgh Penguins head coach Dan Bylsma was a Duck and Calgary assistant coach Dave Lowry was a Flame.]
That said, there’ll be few laughs from the Flames should the losing continue. Calgary is four points back of Minnesota for the eighth and final playoff spot in the Western Conference and ready to embark on a key three-game road swing through “Death Valley” — Anaheim, San Jose and Phoenix. Given the flames are just 10-14-4 on the road this year, it’s a very important trip…not that you need to remind Sutter of its importance.
“You know what, you guys? As you know, when you’re in a race like we are, every game is a big game,” Sutter told reporters on Sunday. “So, this is a big trip. Just like our last one. The position we were in last time, we had to get on the road and win some games — and we did that.
“This one is basically the same.”