In 2003-04, Jarome Iginla and Rick Nash
tied for the NHL lead with 41 goals to win the Maurice Richard Trophy. That was the same year that Iginla led the Flames to the seventh game of the Stanley Cup Finals.
But a lot has changed since then, for both players. First the lockout washed out the entire 2004-05 season. Then Nash was injured in training camp the following season, missing 28 games and scoring 31 goals as the Jackets missed the playoffs.
Meanwhile, Iginla and the Flames struggled offensively with the new rules and the Calgary captain finished with just 35 goals, getting bounced in the first round of the playoffs by a young and hungry Ducks team.
Fast forward to this season. Both teams have struggled to find the net but have played stout defensively resulting in a combined six wins in 21 games between the two teams.
Individually, Nash scored three goals in the first four games but has been held with out a goal for a career-high six games. Iginla, conversely, scored just two goals in the first seven games of the season but has lit the lamp four times in the last four contests.
Both players will be on the ice tonight, both looking to jump start their games and their teams as the Jackets host the Calgary Flames at Nationwide Arena at 7 p.m. tonight. Coverage begins on FSN Ohio at 6:30 p.m. with Ice Breaker.
Columbus (3-6-1) has won just once in their last seven games after starting out 2-0-1 on the year. Pascal Leclaire has been solid in the net, posting a 3-5-1 mark with a 2.95 GAA, keeping the club in games. The main culprit has been the club’s offense, being shut out three times in the first 10 games of the year.
Those offensive struggles may have ended with the month of October, as the Jackets created numerous scoring opportunities en route to out-shooting the Colorado Avalanche on the first of November, 44-22. The Jackets converted three of those 44 shots for goals but ended up on the wrong end of a 5-3 score. But a step is a step, nonetheless.
Fredrik Modin, the Jackets prized off-season acquisition scored for the third time this season and added an assist in the game. David Vyborny also had a goal and an assist as he remains on a little bit better than a point per game rate, with 2-9-11 in his first 10 games. Nikolai Zherdev leads the club with four goals.
Calgary has been struggling just as mightily, dropping three straight games which means alot considering the club has not lost four consecutive games since Jan. 9-14, 2003, the last season the Flames failed to qualify for the playoffs.
Offense has been the problem here as well with Calgary ranking 24th in scoring at 2.46 goals per game. Iginla leads the team in goals and points with six and 11, but off-season acquisitions Jeff Friesen (0-1-1) and Alex Tanguay (2-4-6) have not provided the offense that general manager Darryl Sutter had in mind. Miikka Kiprusoff has posted a 3-7-1 record with a 2.84 GAA and a .908 SV% this season.
The Jackets and Flames met four times a year ago splitting the season series. Each team won once on its home ice and once on the road, the highlight being the Jackets 2-1 shoot-out win at Calgary on Feb. 1, which was the fourth win of a five-game winning streak from Jan. 24 - Feb. 2.
Overall, Columbus has posted an 11-8-1 mark against Calgary, finishing .500 or better in the series in four of five years. The club has won seven of 10 games at Nationwide Arena.
As always, Huntington Green Seats will be available for tonight's game and every game during the 2006-07 season. The Huntington Green Seats are 250 seats that are priced at $10 for every home game this season and are available only at the Nationwide Arena Ticket Office, two hours prior to game time. For tonight's game each person may purchase a maximum of four seats.
Click here to purchase tickets now.