By John Carlisle, bluejackets.com
Early February means frigid temperatures in Western Canada (and Central Ohio, for that matter). But the Jackets hot play of late might bring a mid-winter thaw into Calgary.
Winners of four of its last five overall and three of four since the All-Star Break, Columbus (21-26-5) will attempt to cool off the Calgary Flames (27-17-6) at 9 p.m. in the Pengrowth Saddledome.
Live coverage on FSN Ohio begins with the pre-game show, IceBreaker, at 8:30 p.m. and features the post-game show, Blue Jackets Ice Cap, immediately following the game.
Radio listeners can tune in on the Blue Jackets Radio Network and flagship stations WBNS-AM Sports Radio 1460 The Fan and WWCD-FM, CD101.
The Jackets got goals from forwards Fredrik Modin and David Vyborny but dropped a 5-2 contest in Edmonton Wednesday. Forward Dan Fritsche picked an assist on Modin's goal, extending his points streak to five games. Forward Anson Carter has increased his performance as of late, assisting on Vyborny's goal and pushing his points streak to three. Carter is sitting on 200 career goals after finding the back of the net against his former team, the Vancouver Canucks, Tuesday.
Coming into the game, the Jackets find themselves 13 points out of the eighth playoff spot. The current cutoff point total, 60, is owned by the Minnesota Wild and none other than the Flames, making Friday's contest a classic "four-point game." A win in regulation would lift the Jackets to 49 points and trap the Flames at 60.
Stealing a win from Calgary won't be easy, though. Its leading scorer and franchise player Jarome Iginla, 23-30-53, could return to the lineup after missing 11 games. The Flames managed to play well even without Iginla, going 7-2-2 over his absence. Like the Blue Jackets, the Flames have enjoyed success at home, winning their last six on their home ice.
Goaltender Ty Conklin will have his hands full with a Calgary offensive arsenal that features not only Iginla but also 40-point forwards Daymond Langkow, Alex Tanguay and Kristen Huselius. Conklin has stepped in nicely for injured netminders Pascal Leclaire and Fredrik Norrena by closing out a win against Minnesota, earning an overtime victory in Vancouver and turning away 32 shots in a losing effort at Edmonton.
No doubt, the Flames are a good team in playoff contention, but playing good teams hasn't bothered the CBJ as of late. They earned four recent wins over Stanley Cup Playoff contenders Detroit, Buffalo, Minnesota and Vancouver, all victories coming by one goal.
"It doesn’t matter if you win by five or by one as long as you get the job done," Fritsche said during the Jackets win streak.