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Jackets return home to face Flames

by John Kreiser /

FLAMES (15-6-3) at BLUE JACKETS (12-9-3)

Last 10 - Calgary 6-2-2; Columbus 5-4-1

Season series - The teams are meeting for the third time this season. Columbus won 2-1 at Nationwide Arena on Oct. 13, but the Flames got even a week later with a 6-3 win at the Pengrowth Saddledome. Columbus has won the last four meetings at home.

Big story - The Jackets are glad to be home after going 1-3-1 on a five-game road trip, including losses this week at New York (7-4), Montreal (5-3) and Ottawa (2-1). But the Flames are one of the NHL's best road teams (8-1-3) and come to Columbus after a 3-0 victory at Detroit on Friday.

Team Scope:

Flames - It's easy to take Miikka Kiprusoff for granted - he's not the kind of goaltender who calls attention to himself. But Kiprusoff is the biggest reason the Flames start today on top of the Northwest Division. He stopped 40 shots at Detroit on Friday night in a 3-0 victory that saw the Flames manage only 17 shots on goal.

Blue Jackets - The Jackets tightened up defensively against Ottawa after allowing 12 goals in the losses to the Rangers and Canadiens. But this time, the offense didn't deliver - generating nothing after Kristian Huselius scored a power-play goal late in the first period. Also, though he allowed only two goals, Steve Mason didn't look good on Nick Foligno's game-winner, allowing a stoppable wraparound to slide through the five-home.

Still, it was a huge improvement over the previous two losses.

"Tough loss," Jackets coach Ken Hitchcock said. "We had a lot of guys play well. We had a lot of chances on the power play, their goalie played well, and we were the first team to crack. We let a goal there in at the end on the power play and that was the difference."

Who's hot - Calgary's Jamie Lundmark, recalled before Friday's game, needed only 28 seconds to score his first NHL goal of the season. Nigel Dawes has goals in back-to-back games for the Flames, and Olli Jokinen has eight points in his last seven games. … Kristian Huselius was one of the few Jackets who produced during the trip; he had 6 points in the five games, including the lone goal at Ottawa.

Injury report - Calgary defenseman Cory Sarich didn't play Friday, missing his second game because of an undisclosed injury, and are still without forward Rene Bourque (undisclosed injury). … The Jackets are still without Derek Dorsett (concussion).

Stat pack - Calgary captain Jarome Iginla had two assists in the win over the Wings, giving him 451 for his career. He's now just 12 away from passing Theo Fleury for second place on the Flames' all-time assists list. … Flames goaltender Miikka Kiprusoff is now 7-1-3 on the road

Puck drop - The Flames often seem to play better defensive hockey on the road than at home, but they'll be facing a Columbus team that's desperate for a win after a disappointing trip. As good as Kiprusoff has been, don't be surprised if he gets the night off. The Jackets have to continue to tighten up defensively.

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