Flames vs. Blue Jackets
Columbus, OH - Even with some recent success that included their first home victory, the Columbus Blue Jackets know they're capable of playing better than they have been to start the season.
The Blue Jackets look for further improvement while trying for a third straight win Friday night against the visiting Calgary Flames.
Oddsmakers from online sports book Sportsbook.com have made the Blue Jackets –135 money line favorites for Friday's game against the Flames. Current MLB Public Betting Information shows that 62% of more than 638 bets for this game have been placed on the Blue Jackets -135.
Less than a week after being embarrassed in a 5-2 loss to Chicago in its home opener, Columbus (3-2-0) put forth a more spirited effort to beat Anaheim 3-1 on Wednesday in front of 9,802 fans - the smallest home crowd in franchise history.
"The only way we're going to win (the fans) back is by winning games," said star forward Rick Nash, who had two goals against the Ducks.
Though the Blue Jackets have strung together consecutive victories, they are 2 for 22 on the power play this season, including 0 for 11 in the last three games.
"Do we have room to improve? Yeah," said center Derek McKenzie, who has goals in back-to-back contests for the first time in his 69 NHL games.
The Blue Jackets will try to improve without veteran winger Ethan Moreau, who could miss more than a month with a broken hand suffered Wednesday. The 35-year-old Moreau, Columbus' most notable offseason addition, had a goal and assist through five games.
Though Columbus fell 4-3 in a shootout at home versus Calgary on Nov. 28, the Blue Jackets are 4-0-1 against the Flames at Nationwide Arena since losing there in regulation to them Dec. 18, 2007.
Nash has two goals and eight assists in his last five home games against the Flames.
Steve Mason, 3-0-1 with a 1.23 goals-against average at home versus Calgary, could be in net after making 31 saves against the Ducks. He is 2-2-0 with a 2.76 GAA this season.
Backup Mathieu Garon, who stopped 21 shots in a 3-2 win at Minnesota last Saturday, is 8-4-0 with a 2.17 GAA against the Flames.
Calgary (3-3-0) had its bid for a third straight victory end with a 4-2 loss at Detroit on Thursday. Mikael Backlund had two goals and Curtis Glencross added two assists as the Flames remained competitive despite scoring fewer than three goals for the fourth time this season.
"Some games just aren't going to go right for you but it can't be because your work ethic and compete level is not at the standard that it needs to be at to give yourself a chance," coach Brent Sutter told the Flames' official website.
Glencross, who played 43 games for Columbus earlier in his career, has two goals and an assist in his last four games against the his former team.
Calgary star Jarome Iginla has one goal and one assist this season, but five goals and seven assists in his last eight games versus Columbus.
Miikka Kiprusoff, who has started every game for the Flames this season, could be back in net after stopping 26 shots Thursday. He is 13-5-2 with a 2.06 GAA against the Blue Jackets, but has allowed eight goals during a three-game skid at Nationwide Arena.If Kiprusoff is rested, Henrik Karlsson would make his NHL debut.