The Calgary Flames have a recipe for success—score first and let the goalie do the rest.
Shooting up the Western Conference standings, the Flames will try to run their unbeaten streak to five when they take on the Columbus Blue Jackets at Nationwide Arena.
Winners of 10 of 14 (10-1-2-1) overall, the Flames are in sixth place in the conference. They moved a season-high seven games above .500 with Thursday’s 5-0 road win in Boston.
The Bruins must have figured they were getting a break Thursday when Flames coach Darryl Sutter gave Kiprusoff, the NHL leader in goals-against average (1.52) and save percentage (.937), the night off in place of the seldom-used McLennan.
They figured wrong.
Despite sitting out Calgary’s previous eight games, McLennan was sharp, stopping 30 shots for his third shutout of the season.
“I haven’t played much lately but it’s been real easy not to play because we’ve been playing well,” McLennan said. “When you get in there you want to contribute because you don’t want the level of play to drop off.”
As if the Flames don’t have enough momentum right now, it appears former Art Ross Trophy winner Jarome Iginla has found the net again.
After scoring just one goal in 12 games in November, Iginla, who had a career-high 52 goals two seasons ago, has seven in nine games in December, including two against Boston on Thursday.
The Blue Jackets are winless in six (0-3-1-2) and have just one victory in their last 10 (1-5-2-2) overall.
Columbus fell to 0-11-1-2 on the road this season with Wednesday’s 2-1 overtime loss at St. Louis. The Blue Jackets are 3-11-2-3 when they are outshot, as they were Wednesday, 37-27.
Despite all the negative statistics, the Blue Jackets are staying positive.
“We’re realistic about goals, and we know to make the playoffs we’re going to slide in anywhere near those last couple of spots,” center Todd Marchant said. “It’s games like tonight where you scrap and claw to get yourself a point, they’re going to pay off down the stretch.”