After taking one of four points on their two-game California road swing late last week, the Flames are back at the 'Dome tonight to kick off a three-game home-stand against the Columbus Blue Jackets (7PM MT, Sportsnet West), a team that, despite having four more wins than the Flames, actually scores marginally less goals per game, and if you can believe it, has a worse powerplay than their hosts (gasp!). The Flames delivered a solid spanking to the Jackets the last time these two teams met back on October 22nd as Rene Bourque had a hat trick in a 6-2 Calgary victory that would kick off their longest winning streak of the season, three consecutive games with a 'W' late in the opening month.
The BJs currently sit 11th in the West with 33 points and two games in hand on the Flames with captain Rick Nash leading the charge with 16 goals and 24 points in 27 games played, and Columbus is a surprising four games above .500 away from home, sitting at 8-4-0 on the road so far this season. After firing 39 shots on goal on Friday evening against a Ducks team that suddenly finds themselves in the top half of the conference despite having a goal differential of -11, you would think that the Flames are due for an offensive breakout tonight, but picking up where they left off will be crucial--all of the Flames' wins in home games have come when they've scored the first goal.
Links after the jump.
Thirty games in and the Flames' season seems to have become a guessing game as to whom will be a healthy scratch in the club's next game [Flames Insider]
Just a few days before Dion Phaneuf makes his long-awaited return to Cowtown, Kent takes another look at the deal that sent him to Toronto [Houses of the Hockey]
Meanwhile, Leafs fans have developed their own winning strategy heading into Thursday's game [PPP]
Will Brent Sutter be yet another casualty of his brother's overstayed regime? [The Calgary Herald]
Where does Pavel Datsyuk rank in terms of current NHL greats and more in Elliotte Friedman's weekly column [CBC Sports]
Theo Fleury reacts to the news that Graham James has been released on bail and is living in Montreal [Yahoo! Sports]
Thoughts on Sutter the elder, the Captain, and the reaction of Flames fans to the return of Double Dion [The 4th LIne Blog]
Have a good week everyone, and stick around for tonight's Game Thread!