The NHL community was beginning to hear rumblings of a potential work stoppage the last time Calgary won a regular-season game in Anaheim, and it wasn't the 2012-13 lockout.
The Ducks' Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry were more than a year and a half away from their joint NHL debut, while the Flames' Sam Bennett was seven years old, and the league was months away from a 2004-05 season that never started.
More than 13,000 NHL games later, when even every Eastern Conference team has won at least once in every Western Conference city and vice versa, the Ducks will try to match a league record Wednesday night with a 23rd straight regular-season home win over one opponent. And it couldn't come at a better time with the Pacific Division lead back within reach.
Philadelphia beat Pittsburgh in 23 straight home games from 1980-87, and matching that would push Anaheim (42-23-10) one point past Los Angeles and into first place for the second time this month in the opener of a four-game homestand.
The Ducks won 2-1 over Edmonton on Monday to conclude a 3-1-1 road trip against very beatable opposition. That continues at home against the Flames (32-38-6), Vancouver, Dallas and Winnipeg, so Anaheim plays the bottom four teams in the West in a five-game span.
"We want to play the right way and build momentum so we're ready for the playoffs," goaltender John Gibson told the team's official website. "This road trip was a good stepping stone. Hopefully, we can keep it going."
Anaheim, 5-1-1 in its last seven, beats the Flames regardless of the state of its season.
The home streak over the Flames is 24 including postseason, but the 22 straight regular-season wins mean Getzlaf and Perry, who made their NHL debuts Oct. 5, 2005, have never lost a regular-season home game to one of their division rivals.
Calgary's last win in Anaheim was 5-1 on Jan. 19, 2004 - more than 10 years before the now-19-year-old Bennett was drafted - and the Ducks have averaged 3.73 goals in the victories since. Getzlaf has played in 20 and has 32 points, including six in two matchups this season.
The Ducks have also won the two meetings in Calgary this season and are seeking their first sweep in the series since going 4-0-0 in 2010-11.
The Flames started a four-game trip within the division with Monday's 5-2 win over Arizona. Bennett scored twice to end an 18-game goal drought, giving him 17 goals and 18 assists in 71 games.
"When you finally do get a bounce, it's a great feeling and I think it just builds my confidence even more," Bennett said. "No one likes going through funks like that. I don't think I changed anything myself. I think it's just the way it goes sometimes."
Calgary hasn't won a game in which it's scored fewer than three goals since Dec. 15, and Anaheim hasn't given up more than two at home in a 10-1-1 span while allowing 1.33 goals per game.
Gibson faced the Oilers and is 3-0-0 with a 1.06 goals-against average in three games against Calgary this season, though the Ducks have also been happy with Frederik Andersen lately. Andersen has posted a 1.99 GAA in a 7-1-1 span and has won his last eight home starts with a 1.12 mark.
"Either one that's in has won us games," coach Bruce Boudreau said. "With (Saturday's 4-3 overtime win) in Ottawa, Freddie stopped a penalty shot, and then a breakaway in overtime. (Gibson has) made some 10-bell saves, especially when we needed them to be made."
Joni Ortio is 1-2-0 with a 3.92 GAA against the Ducks. He, Kari Ramo and former Duck Jonas Hiller are the latest of 12 Calgary goalies to lose in Anaheim since Roman Turek won 12 years ago.