Flames-Blue Jackets Preview
No NHL goaltender has been called upon more often over the last
seven years than Miikka Kiprusoff, but the Calgary Flames will be
without him for at least Thursday night’s road game against the
Columbus Blue Jackets.
Kiprusoff’s absence could be a boon for the Blue Jackets, who
have struggled to score as much as any team in the league.
The Flames (2-3-2) are last in the Western Conference – one
point behind Columbus (3-6-1) – although they have played the
fewest games in the league and three fewer than the Blue
They’re hopeful Tuesday’s 4-1 victory at Detroit is the
beginning of a turnaround, but they suffered a potentially
difficult loss in the game. Kiprusoff collided with the Red Wings’
Johan Franzen during the second period and exited before the third
with a lower-body injury.
Backup Leland Irving played the final 20 minutes, stopping all
six shots he faced. Calgary signed Danny Taylor, who has never
started an NHL game, from AHL affiliate Abbotsford on
Kiprusoff’s 517 starts since 2005-06 are the most in the league,
and he’s played in at least 70 games each of the last seven
seasons. He hasn’t missed time with an injury since an 18-game
absence with a sprained left knee ligament in 2004.
The Finnish veteran said in a statement Wednesday that he
believes it is a “short-term injury” after the team announced he is
“You take for granted how good he is and how consistent he is,”
team captain Jarome Iginla said. “He’s a big part of our team.”
Iginla finally broke through for his first goal Tuesday after
being held without one for the first six games, his longest drought
to start a season since he scored goal No. 1 in his 12th contest in
Calgary’s four goals tied a season high despite a season-low 23
“Always the first of the year, it’s nice to get over,” said
Iginla, the franchise’s all-time leader with 517 goals. “Every
single year, you want to get that first one off your back.”
The Blue Jackets have been anemic, scoring two goals or fewer in
seven of their last eight games. Their 7.2 shooting percentage and
1.90 goals per game both rank near the very bottom of the
Columbus’ offense faltered again in a 4-2 home loss to Los
Angeles on Tuesday. The Blue Jackets failed to capitalize on three
power plays, including a four-minute double minor early in the
third period on which they recorded one shot while trailing by one
“I’ve talked about how your power play can create positive
energy,” coach Todd Richards said. “That four minutes were really
just draining the clock. We spent more time working back to our
zone than we did in the offensive zone. Our execution wasn’t
Brandon Dubinsky should be in the lineup after avoiding a
suspension for a hit on Kings defenseman Rob Scuderi that drew a
boarding major. Dubinsky was fined $10,000, the maximum allowed
under the new NHL collective bargaining agreement.
The forward ranks second on the Blue Jackets with four assists,
but is still looking for his first goal since coming over from the
New York Rangers in the Rick Nash trade.
These teams are each 12-8-4 in their last 24 meetings, with
neither winning more than two in a row over that span. The final
three matchups last season went to shootouts.