When the Blue Jackets and Calgary Flames play at 9 p.m. ET tonight, there is a good chance that Columbus fans will have to stay up late to catch the end of the game.
Two of the last three meetings between the two clubs have gone into overtime. In fact, both have needed an overtime for the overtime, with both games advancing to the shootout.
And wouldn’t you know it, the last meeting on Nov. 3 needed an overtime for the overtime of the overtime, as the shootout advanced 11 nail-biting rounds until Manny Malhotra sent the Columbus faithful home happy with a 5-4 win.
Columbus (6-15-2), riding a three-game winning streak over the Flames (11-10-2), will face the Western Conference foe at Pengrowth Saddledome in Calgary tonight.
The Flames will try to extend its home win streak to seven after losing road games to Los Angeles and Anaheim. Calgary returned home and matched a season high with three power-play goals Tuesday in a 5-2 victory over Colorado.
Dion Phaneuf, Jarome Iginla, Roman Hamrlik and Alex Tanguay each had a goal and an assist for Calgary which entered the game ranked 26th in the league on the power play.
The Flames have been dominant during their six-game home win streak, posting shutouts over Anaheim and St. Louis, and outscoring opponents 22-5. Calgary is 8-3-0 at Pengrowth Saddledome this season after posting a 30-7-4 mark there in 2005-06.
Goaltender Miikka Kiprusoff and Iginla are two of the biggest reasons behind the Flames' strong play in Calgary. Kiprusoff is 8-3-0 with a 1.55 goals-against average at home, compared to a 3-6-1 mark and a 2.82 GAA on the road. Iginla has at least one point in 10 consecutive home contests.
Columbus, meanwhile, is 1-2-0 in three games since Ken Hitchcock took over. The club has two one-goal losses on the road, a 3-2 loss to Philadelphia last Friday and a 1-0 loss to Vancouver on Monday. Sandwiched in between was a 5-3 win over the Wild in which back up Fredrik Norrena got his first NHL ‘W.’
No. 1 netminder Pascal Leclaire is expected to start tonight, however, coming off a 32-save effort against Vancouver. Leclaire is 5-11-2 on the season, with a 3.19 GAA
David Vyborny (4-14-18) and Rick Nash (7-8-15) leads the team in scoring. The Jackets will complete the second half of this back-to-back on Saturday night at Edmonton.