(Sports Network) - The Calgary Flames officially continue their playoff push
on Friday night without former captain Jarome Iginla as they play host to the
Columbus Blue Jackets.
Not long after a 4-3 victory over the Colorado Avalanche on Wednesday, a
contest in which Iginla was a healthy scratch to end a string of 441
consecutive games played, the Flames announced they had traded their all-time
leader in goals, points and games played to the Pittsburgh Penguins for a pair
of college forwards and a 2013 first-round pick.
The 35-year-old Iginla notched 525 goals, 570 assists, 1,095 points and 1,219
games played with the Flames and helped the club reach the Stanley Cup Finals
in 2004. Calgary, though, has missed the postseason in each of the last three
years and enters play on Friday 14th out of 15 teams in the Western Conference
and six points back of a playoff spot.
"It's definitely weird. There's no downplaying the significance and the
presence that he has been in this room and on this organization and on this
city, so it's a little different," Flames forward Mike Cammalleri said on
Despite the trade of Iginla, Cammalleri said the rest of the Flames aren't
calling it quits on a run at a playoff spot.
"For players in the room, we get up every day trying to win hockey games,"
he said. "There's no feeling of that in the room when it comes to players.
We're going to try and win every game. We feel like we can do it. Until they
take our skates off, we're going to feel that way."
Cammalleri will be counted on to help replace Iginla's offense and he was up
to the task on Wednesday, scoring a pair of second-period goals in the win
over the Avalanche.
Jiri Hudler and Steve Begin each lit the lamp in the first period for the
Flames, who have won eight straight at home. Joey MacDonald made 27 saves.
"I give lots of credit to our players, because they showed great focus,"
Calgary coach Bob Hartley said of his team playing without Iginla. "We have
lots of great veterans, so obviously leadership is not a problem."
The Flames hope to extend their home winning streak on Friday and hand the
Blue Jackets a winless four-game swing. Columbus is 0-2-1 thus far, beginning
the trip with a 5-2 loss in Nashville that snapped its club-record 12-game
point streak (8-0-4).
The Blue Jackets were then dealt a shootout loss in Vancouver before a 6-4
loss in Edmonton on Thursday. They lost despite a career-high three points
from Cam Atkinson, who scored twice as he matched Rick Nash's franchise record
for the fastest goal to begin a game. He scored 10 seconds into the contest
and also tallied in the third period to put Columbus up by a goal before
Edmonton scored the game's final three goals.
"That's a tough way to lose, normally we're very good defensively and normally
we don't score that many goals," Columbus defenseman Jack Johnson remarked.
"When we do score that many goals and lose it's a frustrating one."
Artem Anisimov also had a three-point night with a goal and two assists, Matt
Calvert notched a goal and a helper and Sergei Bobrovsky yielded all five
goals on 24 shots.
Columbus, which is tied for 10th in the West and three points back of a
playoff spot, had defenseman James Wisniewski in the lineup for the first time
in 15 games due to a broken foot. He was activated off injured reserve prior
to the game, while forward Brandon Dubinsky missed his third in a row with a
lower body injury and was placed on IR.
The Flames and Blue Jackets have split two meetings this season in Columbus,
with the Jackets notching a 5-1 win in the most recent meeting on March 22 to
push their points streak to 12 straight.
Though the Blue Jackets have won their last two in Calgary, they have still
dropped six of their past nine as the road team in this series.
The Sports Network