Flames-Blue Jackets Preview
GAME: Calgary Flames (0-1-0-0) at Columbus Blue Jackets (0-1-0-0).
TIME: Friday, 7 p.m. EDT.
The Columbus Blue Jackets hope Rick Nash's sprained ankle doesn't keep him off the ice as they host the Calgary Flames in their home opener at Nationwide Arena.
Nash, the Blue Jackets' top scoring threat, aggravated a sprained ankle and did not play in the third period of Columbus' 3-2 loss to the Washington Capitals in Wednesday's season opener.
Nash tied Atlanta's Ilya Kovalchuk and Calgary's Jarome Iginla for the NHL lead in goals with 41 in 2003-04. He's been hampered by an ankle injury since crashing feet first into the boards in a scrimmage on Sept. 15.
The 21-year-old winger, who was the first overall pick in the 2002 draft, re-signed with Columbus in August, agreeing to a five-year, $27 million contract.
Nash was chosen to the NHL all-rookie team in 2002-03. He played with Davos of the Swiss league during the NHL lockout last season, scoring 27 goals.
Dan Fritsche scored both goals and rookie Gilbert Brule recorded an assist in his NHL debut for the Blue Jackets on Wednesday. Columbus outshot Washington 17-6 in the third, and 37-19 for the game.
Calgary came out flat in its opener, a 6-3 loss to the Minnesota Wild on Wednesday. The Flames were outshot 16-3 in the first period, and trailed 3-0 midway through the second.
"You spot a team that much momentum, point-blank chances, stuff like that, it's not a good game," said Iginla, whose goal pulled the Flames within 4-3 midway through the third period. "We were standing still the whole game. It's not good enough."
Goalie Miikka Kiprusoff, who led the league with a 1.70 goals-allowed average in 2003-04, uncharacteristically gave up goals on several long rebounds.
"They were shooting a lot, so there were a lot of rebounds," Kiprusoff said. "But I've got to do a better job."
STANDINGS: Flames - 0 points, 4th place (tied), 2 PB, Northwest Division. Blue Jackets - 0 points, 3rd place, 4 PB, Central Division.
TEAM LEADERS: Flames - Daymond Langkow, Iginla and Stephane Yelle, 1 goals; Tony Amonte, 2 assists and 2 points; Chris Simon, 4 PIM. Blue Jackets - Fritsche, 2 goals and 2 points; Brule, Tyler Wright and Luke Richardson, 1 assists; Adam Foote, 6 PIM.
SPECIAL TEAMS (through Oct. 5): Flames - Power play: 12.5 percent (1 for 8), 15th (tied) in NHL. Penalty killing: 33.3 percent (1 for 3), 30th. Blue Jackets - Power play: 0 percent (0 for 9), 22nd (tied). Penalty killing: 75 percent (6 for 8), 25th (tied).
GOALTENDERS: Flames - Kiprusoff (0-1-0, 0 SO, 5.08 GAA); Philippe Sauve (0-0-0, 0, 0.00 GAA). Blue Jackets - Pascal Leclaire (0-1-0, 0, 3.05); Mark Denis (0-0-0, 0, 0.00 GAA).
2003-04 SEASON SERIES: Flames, 3-1.
LAST MEETING: March 18, 2004; Flames, 2-0. At Calgary, Matthew Lombardi and Iginla scored, and Kiprusoff made 23 saves to lead the Flames.
ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Flames - 0-1-0 on the road; Blue Jackets - 0-1-0 at home.