For the Calgary Flames, this season started in exciting fashion that was beginning to put distance between the struggles of five straight seasons without playoff hockey.
They're now in danger of being thrust right back into that bleak conversation by matching their worst losing streak during that time.
A loss tonight in Los Angeles would equal the Flames' nine-game skid from Jan. 11-28, 2010, and they might be catching the Kings just as the Stanley Cup champions begin to re-establish their elite form.
The Flames (17-15-3) at least earned a point in Saturday's 3-2 overtime loss in Vancouver, which is more than they can say about the first seven losses on the streak.
"We talked about our character since the start of the year," coach Bob Hartley told the team's official website. "I felt it would have been easy to fold the tent tonight, second game in two nights, but credit to our guys, they battled back."
The loss followed Friday's 2-1 home defeat against Dallas, and Calgary has been limited to 13 goals during the skid. That comes after averaging 3.11 goals through 25 contests.
The Kings (17-11-6) have had no such offensive issues in their last two games, scoring 10 goals in consecutive wins after beating Arizona 4-2 on Saturday. It comes as a relief after Los Angeles was outscored 20-13 during a 1-4-1 slump.
The power play has been a big part of the turnaround, as the Kings have gone 5 for 11 in these wins after converting at a rate of 10.5 percent over their previous 11 games.
"I can't tell you (what's changed)," Anze Kopitar told the team's official website. "We're moving the puck good and we're getting some good looks. A couple of bounces here and there is nice to get."
Kopitar has certainly been a big part of it while playing with Marian Gaborik and Jeff Carter. He has a goal and seven assists in the last two games and nine points in his last three contests after managing three in his previous 12. He also has nine points in his past nine games against the Flames.
Gaborik has broken out with six goals and two assists on a four-game point streak after going four games without one. He has 24 points in his last 19 games versus Calgary.
Carter has scored in consecutive games and has six points in his last three, but he's been limited to six points in 17 games against the Flames.
"It's nice," Kopitar said. "Every guy will tell you that it's nice when you build a little bit of chemistry and you somewhat know where the guys are going to be on the ice. It makes it easier. But I think the big thing too is coming out of our zone and really make sure we support each other pretty good. That's why we can get some open looks in the O-zone."
Jonathan Quick has won consecutive starts, but he has a 3.16 goals-against average over a 3-1-1 stretch. He's typically fared well against Calgary, posting a 1.40 GAA over a 9-3-2 span.
For the Flames, Jonas Hiller and Karri Ramo are both in need of a win. Hiller has yet to face Los Angeles with Calgary, but he's got a 2.12 GAA against the Kings over a 5-3-3 run.
Ramo has lost his last three games with a 4.48 GAA, but he's 3-0-0 with a 1.95 GAA against Los Angeles.
All of those starts came last season as the Flames won three of five in the series.
CGY was 3-2-0 vs LAK last season
CGY has won 2 straight in LA
won 2 straight, both at home, 10GF, 5/11 on PP
13-1-3 when scoring first
Gaborik (6G) has scored in 4 straight games
0-7-1 past 8 games, 13GF, 3/29 on PP
0-4-1 past 5 road games, outscored 16-8, 2/18 on PP
Giordano (1G, 1A) past 3 games