NHL Preview from The Sports Network
Wednesday, January 21st (All times eastern)
Columbus Blue Jackets (22-20-4) at Calgary Flames (27-14-4), 10 p.m.
(Sports Network) - The Calgary Flames will try to avoid matching their longest losing streak of the season when they welcome the Columbus Blue Jackets for tonight's battle at the Saddledome.
The Flames, who are first in the Northwest Division with 58 points, come into tonight on the heels of two straight regulation losses, marking just the sixth time this year that the club has dropped back-to-back tests. Calgary's only three-game slide came from December 9-12, but the Flames had a pair of overtime losses in that losing streak.
Calgary last played on Sunday in Colorado and was handed a blowout loss by the Avalanche. Ryan Smyth and Milan Hejduk both registered their 300th career goal, as Colorado pounded the Flames, 6-2, at the Pepsi Center.
Michael Cammalleri and Rene Bourque tallied for Calgary, which was dealt its most lopsided loss since losing, 6-1, to San Jose on November 13.
With workhorse Miikka Kiprusoff given a rare night off, Curtis McElhinney made just his third start of the season for the Flames and was victimized six times on 39 shots. Kiprusoff, who is 27-12-3 in 42 games this season, is expected to be back between the pipes tonight.
Tonight marks the final night of games before this weekend's All-Star festivities in Montreal, but it also marks the start of a three-game homestand for the Flames. Calgary, which is 16-5-3 as the host this year, will resume the residency on January 28 against Buffalo.
The Blue Jackets have lost two of their last three games and were handed a close loss Tuesday in Edmonton. Ales Hemsky assisted on the tying goal in the latter stages of the third period and scored the game-winner with 35 seconds remaining in regulation to lead the Oilers to the 4-3 victory over the Columbus at Rexall Place.
Jason Williams, Jared Boll and Marc Methot scored for the Blue Jackets.
Steve Mason allowed four goals on 22 shots in the loss. Earlier Tuesday, the Blue Jackets announced that goaltender Pascal Leclaire will undergo ankle surgery on Friday and could possibly miss the rest of the regular season.
Columbus is 9-13-3 as the visiting team this year and is completing a three- game road trip tonight. The Jackets will resume play after the All-Star break with a four-game homestand that will begin January 27 against Detroit.
The Blue Jackets posted a 3-1 home win over the Flames on November 8, giving Columbus its second straight win and fourth in six tries against Calgary. The Flames have still won three of four and six of the last eight encounters at the Saddledome.
01/21 10:41:53 ET