Iggy starting to heat up

WES GILBERTSON, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 9:52 AM ET

Baseball legend Reggie Jackson won't need to worry about sharing his nickname with Jarome Iginla.

Mr. October, he is not.

Like clockwork, though, the Calgary Flames captain is once again swinging for the fences in the second month of the NHL season.

"Now that it's November, he's feeling it," smiled Flames centre Craig Conroy.

"You can tell he's feeling it. He's stickhandling, skating, battling down low. That's when he's at his best."

Fresh off lighting the lamp in consecutive contests for the first time this season, Iginla was not available to the media yesterday afternoon at the Saddledome.

Too bad, really, because his sudden awakening from his usual early-season slumber has fans talking.

After a marginal month of October, the Flames sharpshooter officially turned the page during a two-games-in-two-nights road swing through Dallas and St. Louis. Iginla had a pair of goals and added an assist during a 3-2 overtime triumph over the Stars Wednesday, then scored again in a 2-1 extra-session win over the Blues.

Prior to the two-stop road trip, the Flames' all-time leading scorer admitted he needed to be better. Yesterday, bench boss Brent Sutter revealed he'd summoned his superstar to reinforce that message.

And Iginla responded.

He registered a season-high five hits in Dallas, where his first marker -- a heat-seeking wrister over Marty Turco's left shoulder -- was vintage Iginla. The following night in St. Louis, he fired four shots on net and logged more minutes than any other forward on either team.

"His overall game's better, and that's encouraging," Sutter said. "Jarome is a very caring guy. He cares about the team and cares about individuals. He and I sat down and talked about some things, and he's finding his way and being rewarded for it."

While the Movember moustache campign is becoming a fundraising phenomenon for prostate cancer research, it's also the month Iggy seems to get serious about cashing in on scoring opportunities, banking points and canvassing for all-star votes.

Dating back to the lockout that washed out the 2004-05 campaign, Iginla has averaged better than a point per game in November. Over the past four seasons, the 32-year-old has scored 23 times and registered 36 assists in 53 outings the second month of the season.

While Iginla scored just four times in a dozen October appearances, his teammates weren't worried about the two-time 50-goal marksman.

"He takes so much pressure at the start of the year -- I don't know why," Conroy said. "It's like Mark Teixeira in baseball, everybody's on him at the beginning. But at the end of the year, his numbers are the same, and that's the way I expect Iggy to be."

WES.GILBERTSON@SUNMEDIA.CA


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