GAME DAY: vs. Calgary
Jackets host Flames 7 p.m. tonight, look to stop skid
Columbus Blue Jackets vs. Calgary Flames
WATCH: FOX Sports Ohio (HD) | LISTEN: 97.1 The Fan & BlueJackets.com
|Following a 4-1 loss to the Blue Jackets in late November at Nationwide Arena, Flames coach Brent Sutter said there were no requests anymore – he was going to start demanding results from his group and expressed displeasure with his team’s competitiveness.
Calgary’s play picked up after that, but experienced another dip in the middle of December despite starting the month with a 4-1-1 record. In their past three games, the Flames have earned victories over three of the top teams in the Western Conference: home wins over Minnesota and Detroit, then a big road win against the Vancouver Canucks at Rogers Arena prior to the NHL’s Christmas break.
The Flames are led in scoring by Olli Jokinen, who has picked up the pace after a slow start to his season. The 33-year-old Finn is currently riding a six-game points streak in which he has collected nine points and three multi-point games (4G, 5A), and was a significant factor in Calgary’s victory in Vancouver. Right behind Jokinen is the ageless Jarome Iginla, who’s 13 goals slot him second on the Flames behind former Blue Jackets winger Curtis Glencross. The Calgary captain is always a threat to shoot the puck and score, but even more so since he’s been paired with Jokinen in recent games.
Alex Tanguay, who has enjoyed success against the Blue Jackets over the years, is not traveling with the Flames and will not play tonight due to injury. Calgary recalled forward Brett Carson from the Abbotsford Heat in case another body is needed up front. Tanguay had been playing regularly with Iginla prior to injury, but got hurt blocking a shot last week against the Minnesota Wild and is considered day-to-day.
Columbus comes into tonight’s game playing the second of back-to-back games out of the two-day break, and will look to get back on track after a 4-1 loss to the Chicago Blackhawks last night. The Blue Jackets have lost five straight games, but are 2-0-0 against the Flames this season – the most recent being a 4-3 shootout win at the Scotiabank Saddledome on Dec. 1. Trailing 3-1 with less than five minutes to play, the Blue Jackets scored twice to force overtime and escaped with two points after Rick Nash’s shootout winner.