Not so Wild about Iggy

RANDY SPORTAK, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 9:58 AM ET

Jacques Lemaire winced at the notion.

The Minnesota Wild head coach had just put his team through the paces at the Saddledome yesterday before being told how close Jarome Iginla is to two key milestones.

As the captain and the Flames head into tonight's clash against Minny, Iginla needs two goals to reach 400 for his career and three points to become's the franchise's all-time points leader, surpassing Theo Fleury.

Lemaire mockingly flinched and then replied with a wry grin: "Tell him to take his time. He's gonna get it. There's no rush. He'll get it. There's lots of games left."

Being the only coach in Wild history, Lemaire has had his fill of Iginla's skills over the years.

For those trivia buffs wanting to know who has scored the most goals against the Wild in team history, it's Iginla, with 27 over 46 career meetings.

The all-time point-producer? Iginla holds that honour, too, with 47.

The running gag in the local media is every game starts out 1-0 Flames because of Iginla, and now he has a bit of extra motivation.

"That's not good." said Wild defenceman Nick Schultz. "He always seems to play well against us, and he is the key to beating that team. They've got a lot of threats, but you've got to keep him at bay to have a good chance at winning."

They may have been joking about a pending onslaught, but the best jokes always involve at least a hint of truth.

The Flames have two home games on the docket before heading out on a seven-game road trip, so everybody knows Iginla and the Flames faithful want to see him reach those marks on Saddledome ice before they leave town.

Schultz was curious to see who the Flames faced after his team hit the road.

"I'm sure it's something he wants to get out of the way as soon as possible and not have to worry about it," Schultz said. "I'm sure you want to get something like that done for your fans, and they want to honour him.

"Hopefully, he can get them in the next game. He can get all he wants (Sunday) against the (Tampa Bay) Lightning."

It would be a bit of revenge for Iginla to enjoy happy memories against the Lightning after that whole Stanley Cup final thing in 2004.

Since the Wild don't want to be on the wrong side of a milestone moment, even if Iginla is a player for which the team has great respect, the onus is on them to shut Iginla down.

"There's always a plan for any team you play, but it's not public (knowledge)," Lemaire said. "Some nights, we do it better. Other times, our plan is left aside.

"A good player like him, they find a way. Even if you've got a good plan, they don't need a lot of chances. They will capitalize on the right one. He's an overall player. All what you want from a player, he has that.

"We try to keep him off (the scoresheet), and as you can tell, a lot of nights it doesn't work."

It has worked this season.

Curiously, Iginla has been blanked in all three meetings this season, which have all ended in Flames victories, so the Wild must be doing something right.

"I don't think we've done anything different," Schultz said "Good goaltending. With his shot, he's one of those guys who gets the puck at the top of the circle and can put it inside the far post of the net.

"With him, you've got to be aware when he's on the ice, where he's on the ice, and be able to get a stick on it as much as you can. Maybe we've been a little better this year, but it's pretty hard. He's that quality of a player -- he'll get his chances.

"If he scores early, those guys get hungry and get confident. Last game. he had four points, so if he gets one, chances are he'll get a few more."


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