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Iginla aims to end dry spell

by Todd Kimberley /
CALGARY -- Like his team, Jarome Iginla has run hot and cold this season, and right now the Calgary Flames captain has gone as icy as the Trans-Canada Highway in the dead of winter.

Heading into Saturday's matinee against the Nashville Predators at the Pengrowth Saddledome, Iginla had gone eight games without a goal — his longest such streak since Jan. 3-18, 2009.

The former Maurice Richard Trophy winner knows what will kill the chill, though. It's not just puck luck . . . it's carrying it on his stick more often.

"Skating, being a little more creative, and having the puck more," Iginla, 32, said the other day. "Puck possession's a huge part of it. When we're moving, making smart plays, we're getting the shots to the net."

The Flames (20-10-4), who own top spot in the Northwest Division, have been outshot by a margin of more than 10 in each of their past four games.

"That's part of puck possession. We've got to get out of our zone; we've got to get back to moving the puck the way we can," said Iginla, Calgary's top-line right-winger. "All of us right now are not producing enough, and creating enough.

"All the way around, we're not sharp. We have to play the puck more than we have been, and get back to the things that we were doing earlier."

Iginla was red-hot in the month of November, with 13 goals and 20 points through 14 games, but his production was curtailed with the turning of the monthly calendar.

The Flames' coaching staff has been tinkering with the personnel on the No. 1 forward unit pretty much all season, with nine forwards having taken a turn on the left wing beside center Olli Jokinen and Iginla.

Iginla did enter Saturday's game with an assist in each of the past two games, and in the Flames' last outing, a 2-1 victory over visiting Los Angeles on Thursday, he fed Dion Phaneuf with a perfect pass for a power-play goal with less than a second remaining in the first period.

Heading into Saturday's action, Iginla had dropped to 19th overall in point production, with 17 goals and 34 points.

But Sutter is not concerned with his star winger, a man who is in the running for the captaincy on the Canadian Olympic men's hockey team at Vancouver.

"Jarome has been fine. You guys look at goals; I look at all other aspects of his game," Sutter said recently. "Everyone expects Jarome to score, as we do, but that having been said, we don't want it to be at the expense of other areas of his game.

"Jarome's been fine. I have no problems there."

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