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Flames, Jackets both aim to rebound

by Brian Hunter /
FLAMES (14-17-3) at BLUE JACKETS (16-13-3)


Last 10: Calgary 4-5-1; Columbus 2-5-3.

Season series: Third of four meetings this season. Columbus will be looking to break through after getting dumped 6-2 at home on Oct. 22 and dropping a 3-2 overtime decision in Calgary on Dec. 13. The Flames received a hat trick from Rene Bourque in the first game and Jarome Iginla scored twice in the most recent matchup, including the winner with 1:11 left in the extra period.

Big story: Points are at a premium for both these teams, who would like nothing more than to put an extended winning streak together and jumble up the Western Conference playoff picture even further. At the moment, the Flames and Blue Jackets are both on the outside looking in, but time still remains to establish some positive momentum heading into the holiday break.

Team Scope:

Flames: Getting swept in a home-and-home by Minnesota has put a bit of a damper on an up-and-down month for Calgary. In each game the Flames managed just one goal, and on Monday the Wild used a three-goal third period to hand them a 4-1 defeat.

"Especially in the second period we felt like we had good chances," said Olli Jokinen, who was responsible for the lone Calgary score. "But it's not enough just to have good chances anymore. You have to find a way to win the game and we didn't do that."

Blue Jackets: This is the midway point of a three-game homestand for Columbus. A double dose of Brad Richards sent the Blue Jackets to a 2-1 defeat Saturday, as the Stars' centerman had both of their goals. Fedor Tyutin scored late in the first period to answer Richards' first tally, and the Jackets thought they had taken the lead in the second when Derek Dorsett put the puck into an open net. But a goalie interference call on Ethan Moreau wiped out the score.

"They said it was goaltender contact -- they said -- in the crease," coach Scott Arniel said. "We looked at it and we feel Ethan was outside the blue paint. The goalie came out to challenge and ran into him and proceeded to throw his arms in the air. Ethan's feet were planted. There's not much you can do; you're not going to change a referee's mind."

Who's hot: Jokinen has 2 goals and 2 assists in his last three games for the Flames. ... Antoine Vermette has 6 goals and 11 points in his last 13 games for the Blue Jackets.

Injury report: Calgary has defenseman Steve Staios (upper body) and forwards Daymond Langkow (neck) and Raitis Ivanans (concussion) on injured reserve. ... Columbus defenseman Rostislav Klesla is day-to-day with a lower-body injury. Forward Derek MacKenzie (groin) is on injured reserve.

Stat pack: Flames captain Jarome Iginla leads the team in goals (14), power-play goals (5), points (31) and shots (121). ... The Blue Jackets have won 12 of 14 games this season when scoring the first goal -- unfortunately, they've only managed to get on the board first twice in their last 13 games.

Puck drop: Like its opponent Tuesday night, Columbus has had issues scoring goals of late. GM Scott Howson told the Columbus Dispatch he isn't overly concerned.

"Lots of teams go through this type of stretch," he said. "We've got to keep working hard and getting shots to the net and creating traffic.

"There are some guys who are not scoring and I'm sure feeling a little pressure."
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