When Jarome Iginla is focused he can be devastating.
As the two New York City-area clubs found out recently, Iginla, the NHL’s leading goal and point scorer in 2001-02, can dominate a game by himself.
A game after beating the Rangers with a goal and two assists in a 5-0 win, the 6-foot-1, 208-pound right wing scored twice and added and an assist in the Flames’ 3-2 win over the Islanders on Tuesday.
“I just felt more comfortable shooting the puck recently,” Iginla said.
After setting lofty standards in 2001-02 with 52 goals and 44 assists, Iginla tailed off a bit last season, registering 35 goals and 67 points.
This season, the three-time 30-goal scorer has been inconsistent. He had just four goals and 11 assists through his first 21 games, but has 11 goals and 18 points in his last 18.
The Flames, who have missed the playoffs the last seven seasons and have not won a playoff series since capturing the Stanley Cup in 1988-89, are hopeful Iginla’s recent tear through New York will carry over to Chicago. He has scored 13 of his 15 goals on the road.
Owners of the second-worst record in the Western Conference, the Blackhawks come in after dropping their second straight, 7-4 in Minnesota on Wednesday. The Blackhawks blew a pair of two-goal leads before being buried in the third period.
Chicago has been decimated by injuries all season, losing starting goaltender Jocelyn Thibault to hip surgery in early November and top-line center Alex Zhamnov for 38 games to a back injury.
Eric Daze, who was expected to shoulder much of the offensive load, has missed all but three games due to a herniated disc in his back. He’s not expected back until mid-February at the earliest.
Mark Bell has taken advantage of the absence of Daze, recently getting moved to the top line with Zhamnov and Steve Sullivan. Bell had a career-high 29 points last season, and already has 22 this season, including scoring his ninth goal on Wednesday.
“I always set my goals pretty high, and I’ve always wanted to be a 20-goal scorer every year, consistently,” Bell said. “I think if I get 20 goals that means I’m playing well and doing stuff away from the puck that’s helping the team win.”