Iggy's back? ... he never left

ERIC FRANCIS, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 9:37 AM ET

Jarome Iginla isn't the type to say 'I told ya so.'

So, I'll say it for him.

Told ya he'd be back.

Told ya nothing was wrong with him.

Told ya by year's end he'd still have point totals rivaling any of his previous top seasons.

For those who don't own a radio or chose not to cough up for an oh-so-enticing pay-per-view proposition involving Columbus last night, Iginla was at his brilliant self again.

And he had the numbers to prove it this time.

Opening the scoring 45 seconds in and factoring in on every goal in a 4-1 win, the host captain was unstoppable.

And while he wound up with two goals and two assists, it was his second helper that reminded the full house why he's amongst the league's top-10 scorers once again.

With the Blue Jackets scurrying to touch the puck on a delayed penalty, Iginla corralled the puck at the blueline with five skaters at his disposal. While drifting backwards and running out of time, space and options he faked a shot before spotting Mike Cammalleri netside. Delivering a perfect cross-ice pass, Cammalleri slammed it in off Steve Mason's pad to break open a close game.

"He's such a strong guy he can get up on that one leg and in that position a lot of guys have to finish with a shot, but he can get up there, hesitate and either rip it on net or make a pass," said Cammalleri, who had three points.

"He gets up in that position to shoot and everybody bites one way and he throws it the other way. It's a quality I haven't seen."

For those still dwelling on the two goals he scored in a recent 19-outing stretch, that's four goals and three assists in his last four games to go with a cruel crossbar he hit in Minny.

He now sits two points shy of tying Theo Fleury as the club's all-time leading scorer. And judging by the way he's been flying of late, the captain will all but officially be crowned the greatest Flame ever by the time this three-game homestand is over Sunday against Tampa.

"It's something I'm trying not to think about but to be honest it is special," said Iginla, who endured some pretty lean years here in which he was almost traded several times.

"To be a franchise leader in points is a huge honour and it's hard to believe. I've been here a while and when I started I never thought of those things. I'm very thankful. It's been fun and it would be special to me."

The only blemish on an otherwise perfect night for No. 12 came when the game's first star had to reload while trying to throw his stick over the glass to a tiny fan when taking his bow as the game's best.

Count coach Mike Keenan as one of those who never thought Iginla was struggling, wincing when someone suggested last night his captain was heating up.

"I didn't know he had cooled off," said Keenan.

"He's made so many other contributions. Just because he hasn't put up the goals, certainly what he's noted for ... but the leadership was there."

As Cammalleri points out, Iginla's the undisputed leader and best player on the Western Conference's third-ranked team -- a squad 18 games over .500 that went 11-8 in his 19-game "tailspin" in which he netted 14 points.

"He's the captain of a first-place team -- isn't that what it's all about?" wondered Cammalleri.

On a team this deep only so many people can put the puck in the net. That's the only reason his goal scoring is down slightly.

But now, as expected, he's making up for the inevitable lulls every sniper goes through.

It's as predictable as this week's cold snap.

"I got a wide open net last game and tonight too (on an empty-netter) so I'm getting some breaks now," smiled Iginla.

"It feels good."

Coulda told ya it would.

ERIC.FRANCIS@SUNMEDIA.CA


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