The offence: It ain’t pretty

The Flames offence has apprently decided to avoid the rush and started to do its Christmas slumping now.

Five games into December and the Calgary attack has managed but eight goals, one of which was into an empty net. There are a number of ways to look at the dearth of offence but the best, if slightly simplistic, two-word explanation is: Jarome Iginla.

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After a nifty November in the goalscoring department, the Calgary captain is having a dreadful December with zero markers. And that, in a nutshell, accounts for the difference between a team that scored 2.71 goals per game in November and is going at a 1.60 GPG clip in December’s smallish sample size. In fact, the non-power play scoring by non-Jarome Iginlas (the old NPPSBNJI category) is actually up slightly this month, from 1.43 GPG to 1.60.

Iginla accounted for 13 of the Flames’ 38 goals in 14 games last month, with nine of the tallies coming at even strength. No. 12’s pokey start to December hasn’t done much for the power play, which is zip-for-19 in the past five games. Since Oct. 24, Iginla has scored four power-play goals and the rest of the team has managed only five.

With four goals in the past eight games, the much-maligned Olli Jokinen is pretty much the only guy holding up his end of things when it comes to burying pucks. Otherwise, it’s a grim picture:

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  • Only one goal from the defence in December and personal droughts of 17 and 13 games for Dion Phaneuf and Jay Bouwmeester respectively. Mark Giordano hasn’t scored since opening night and stay-at-home types Robyn Regehr and Cory Sarich are oh-for-the season
  • Craig Conroy, as has been well established, is still looking for his first goal of the year
  • Daymond Langkow has one goal in eight games
  • Dustin Boyd has zero goals in six games and one in the past 13
  • Rene Bourque has one goal (an empty-netter) in five games since returning from sick bay
  • Nigel Dawes, David Moss and Curtis Glencross each have a single goal so far this month
  • None of the unusual suspects have chipped in with surprise offence in eons — role players in goal-less runs include Brandon Prust (22 games), Fredrik Sjostrom (21 games), Brian McGrattan (16 games) and Eric Nystrom (13 games)

This is the development many nervous Nellies feared in the summer when the Flames were forced to wave good-bye to Michael Cammalleri, who by the way has five goals in the past four games for a pretty lousy Montreal Canadiens outfit. Still, there’s enough of a track record with many of the slumping Flames to suggest this can’t continue much longer.

And, if you need some cheery news to tide you over, the guys on the other side of the ice aren’t doing much lamp-lighting either. Miikka Kiprusoff keeps adding to his career-rebirth storyline as he has posted a 1.60 GAA and a .947 save percentage since Nov. 1.

P.S. Sincere apologies to TLP for breaking the momentum of the doggies in cute costumes image theme