Seems like a small portion on which to pin the failure of an entire 82-game season.
In the case of the Calgary Flames, however, the evidence is overwhelming.
A span of less than three weeks in January saw the Flames fall from the top of the Northwest Division and upper tier of the Western Conference to the depths of the playoff contenders.
So epic was the slump, Flames GM Darryl Sutter found it necessary to trade away a third of his roster with a quarter of a season left to play.
“That was the turning point of the season,” Craig Conroy said flatly in the minutes after his team was eliminated from playoff contention.
“You can’t lose three or four in a row, and we lost nine.”
Coming off a big shootout victory over the Canucks in Vancouver Jan. 9, the Flames were setting the pace in the race for the division title.
With a 26-14-5 record and 57 points, they held a one-point lead over both the Canucks and Colorado Avalanche.
Disaster came swiftly.
A shootout loss at home to the Avalanche was followed by disappointing efforts at the Saddledome against the Pittsburgh Penguins and the Nashville Predators.
On the road, things got worse on the west coast, with the Anaheim Ducks and San Jose Sharks feasting on the floundering Flames — the 9-1 blasting at HP Pavilion a sore spot that lingered the rest of the year.
Striking while the Flames were cooled were the Chicago Blackhawks and St. Louis Blues, who both beat the Flames at the Saddledome before the monumental slump ended with shootout losses in Dallas and Phoenix.
How far they fell paints the picture of how devastating the skid was.
Before finally ending the slide with a 6-1 win over the Edmonton Oilers Jan. 30, the Flames found themselves with a record of 26-20-8.
Six points separated them from the Avs. Atop the division, the Canucks held an eight-point lead over the floundering Flames.
They were clinging to eighth place in the conference.
They couldn’t hang on and never completely caught up again.
“Lose nine straight, it kills you,” said winger David Moss, who was hurt through much of that streak.
Healthy — at least physically — was Eric Nystrom.
He remembers how tough that stretch was mentally as they managed just 14 goals in that span and watched points slip away.
“It’s awful. It’s like anything else — the snowball starts moving downhill and you can’t stop it. It just gained momentum,” Nystrom said. “We got real tense.
“That was a critical point in the season.”
Proof of that came the day after they beat the Oilers, when Sutter shipped defenceman Dion Phaneuf to the Toronto Maple Leafs and brought in forwards Matt Stajan, Niklas Hagman and Jamal Mayers along with blueliner Ian White.
If the Flames were lacking confidence during the slump, imagine how they felt when they saw a quarter of their roster turned over within a couple days of their first victory in 10 contests.
Olli Jokinen and Brandon Prust were next to go, with New York Rangers Ales Kotalik and Christopher Higgins joining the Flames.
Sutter’s panic might have been the worst possible move for a team that was clearly already fragile.
“We had chances to get back in it,” Nystrom said, avoiding putting all the blame on those nine games.
But the damage had been done.
To their egos, to their momentum, to their chemistry and, ultimately, to their playoff chances.