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Blue Jackets-Flames Preview @NHL
Blue Jackets-Flames Preview

GAME: Columbus Blue Jackets (4-9-0) at Calgary Flames (5-7-2).

TIME: Thursday, 9 p.m. EST.

While Jarome Iginla has started to heat up for the Calgary Flames, fellow reigning goal-scoring champion Rick Nash has barely been on the ice for the struggling Columbus Blue Jackets.

Nash will try to earn his first points of the season and help the Blue Jackets snap a five-game road skid when they visit Iginla and the Flames.

Nash became the youngest player to lead the league in goals, scoring 41 to share the title with Iginla and Atlanta's Ilya Kovalchuk in 2003-04.

However, the 21-year-old left wing has been sidelined by a high ankle sprain suffered in training camp. He reaggravated the injury in the season opener, a 3-2 loss to Washington on Oct. 5, and the Blue Jackets stumbled to a 4-8-0 start without him.

Nash was activated from the injured list on Tuesday, but wasn't much of a factor in Columbus' 5-1 loss at Edmonton.

The Blue Jackets, losers of four of six overall, have scored a league-low 24 goals, and only seven in their last five road games.

Rotislav Klesla made his season debut Tuesday after missing the first 12 games with a stress fracture in his right leg and scored the lone goal for Columbus.

David Vyborny assisted on the goal for the 168th point of his career, tying Geoff Sanderson for the most points in team history.

Iginla got off to a slow start this season, scoring two goals in his first 10 games. However, the All-Star right wing has been on a tear of late, scoring goals in four straight games and recording points in seven in a row.

He scored twice Tuesday to lead the defending Western Conference champions to a 3-0 victory over Minnesota in the opener of a four-game homestand.

Calgary, which returned from a 1-3-1 road trip, plays nine of its next 11 games at home.

"Winning at home and scoring, it always feels good," Iginla said.

Miikka Kiprusoff stopped 23 shots for his second shutout of the season and rookie defenseman Dion Phaneuf scored on the power play.

It was the seventh straight game that the Flames have scored on the power play. They are 9-for-47 with the man advantage during that stretch - a vast improvement over their 3-for-45 mark in the first seven games.

"Dion and all our defensemen have really started quarterbacking the power play and they're controlling the puck and we're getting good results because of their confidence," Iginla said.

STANDINGS (through Nov. 2): Blue Jackets - 8 points, 3rd place, 16 PB, Central Division. Flames - 12 points, 5th place, 8 PB, Northwest Division.

TEAM LEADERS: Blue Jackets - Four tied with 3 goals; Bryan Berard, 7 assists and 10 points; Jody Shelley, 26 PIM. Flames - Iginla, 7 goals and 12 points; Roman Hamrlik, 8 assists; Darren McCarty, 30 PIM.

SPECIAL TEAMS (through Nov. 2): Blue Jackets - Power play: 10.4 percent (9 for 86), 30th in NHL. Penalty killing: 83.5 percent (81 for 97), 11th. Flames - Power play: 13.0 percent (12 for 92), 27th. Penalty killing: 76.6 percent (69 for 90), 26th.

GOALTENDERS: Blue Jackets - Marc Denis (2-6-0, 0 SO, 3.87); Martin Prusek (2-1-0, 2.10 GAA). Flames - Kiprusoff (5-6-2, 2, 2.59); Philippe Sauve (0-1-0, 3.04).

SEASON SERIES: Flames, 1-0.

LAST MEETING: Oct. 7; Flames, 3-1. At Columbus, Ohio, Iginla set up Daymond Langkow's go-ahead goal early in the third period and Kiprusoff stopped 19 shots.

ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Blue Jackets - 1-6-0 on the road; Flames - 3-1-1 at home.

Associated Press

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