Now, you can probably guess based on the title of this post, but who do you think is the highest-scoring Flame versus the Canucks this season?
It’s not Jarome Iginla, who’s got but three assists (and an ugly minus-5) in the four games so far this year, but he is tied for second. With Matt Stajan.
It’s also not Curtis Glencross, Mikael Backlund, Brendan Morrison or Ian White (what?!?), all of whom have two points each.
Nope, it’s big Timmy Jackman, who has four goals and an assist in four games against the Canucks this year. And while that’s great for a guy with his contract and, indeed, skillset, that really doesn’t speak well at all to guys like Iginla, Alex Tanguay, Rene Bourque, Olli Jokinen, and the now-departed Niklas Hagman, who are paid far better money to produce points.
And I understand, the Canucks are a juggernaut against which the Flames struggle in almost every game, especially this year. But to have your top six highest-paid forwards score a combined seven points, and just one goal, in four team games against a division rival? That’s simply not acceptable.
Calgary has now won just one of its four games against the Canucks, that in a shootout, not an actual game of hockey. It’s worrying, frankly, that the drought would be this bad. Is it my imagination or did Iginla used to slaughter the Canucks? Now he has just one goal and five points in his last 10 games against them.
This is bad news, not only because the Flames play the Canucks twice more in the regular season, but also because the Canucks are a highly probable playoff opponent.
And again, it can’t be stated enough that points here help immensely. However, the likely benefit wouldn’t just be an extra point or two in the standings, it would also be to show Calgary can play well against a team that has bossed them around in both their home buildings in the last few years.
Come the postseason, the latter might be just as important as the former.