Iginla aims for 500th as Flames challenge Capitals
Monday, 01.02.2012 / 4:50 PMFLAMES (18-17-5) at CAPITALS (20-15-2)
TV: SNET-W (HD), CSN-MA
Calgary 4-3-3; Washington 6-3-1
This is the lone meeting between these clubs. The Caps took last season's game in Calgary by a 7-2 decision.
Washington seeks its fourth straight win as it tries to inch its way back into the Eastern Conference playoff race. The Flames look to overcome a New Year's Day loss to Nashville, while also trying to break a current three-game road losing streak. Captain Jarome Iginla
is just one goal away from notching the 500th of his career, all with the Flames.
While Calgary was red hot toward the end of December with four consecutive wins, it cooled down considerably with three straight defeats. Tuesday marks stop five on a season-long seven-game road trip, on which the Flames are 2-2-1 so far.
Besides the possibility of Iginla notching his 500th goal as a Flame, Calgary looks to bounce back from Sunday's 5-3 loss at Nashville. While Iginla put his team on the board with the game's first goal early in the first period, the Flames went on to surrender four unanswered goals, all at even strength.
"On the road, every home team is going to have a push," Iginla said after the game. "Right now, we're letting that push last for too long. We're coming out having a good start, but when they're pushing back, we're not handling it well."
With three straight wins overall and a 4-1-1 record over its last six games, Washington is beginning to heat up as it opens the 2012 portion of the schedule. While the Caps took a long time to get it going at Columbus this past New Year's Eve, they eventually piled on the goals.
Four unanswered scores in the third period, including two from captain Alex Ovechkin
, gave the Capitals the 4-2 win over a struggling Blue Jackets squad.
"Last game, I don't think we played well," Ovechkin told Caps365 following Monday's practice. "After the first two periods in Columbus, we played like they won the Stanley Cup just yesterday. But (our game) is something we are starting to get back on track."
While Iginla hasn't played Washington much over his 15-year career, he's found success with 6 goals and 9 assists over 17 games. … For the Caps, Ovechkin has a six-game points streak, with 6 goals and 3 assists over that span.
Flames defenseman Derek Smith
has missed the last two games with a right leg injury. Alex Tanguay
(upper body) Matt Stajan
(sprained ankle), Henrik Karlsson
(sprained right MCL), Mark Giordano
(ruptured tendons in leg), David Moss
(ankle) and Brett Carson
(back) are all on injured reserve. … For Washington, forward Mathieu Perreault
has missed the last two games with an upper-body injury, while defenseman Mike Green
has been sidelined since mid-November with a groin injury.
Iginla is set to become the 42nd player in NHL history with at least 500 goals. He will also be just the second Flame to score his 500th goal with the team -- the famously moustached Lanny McDonald did it in 1989.
Although the Capitals have turned it up lately, coach Dale Hunter is keeping the mood very humble.
"We've won some games, but we've needed to win them and, again, we need to take it one game at a time. It's important we don't get too far ahead," Hunter told Caps365 after Monday's practice.