Iggy prepares for Sid the Kid

RANDY SPORTAK, QMI AGENCY

, Last Updated: 9:37 AM ET

Maybe a one-on-one showdown between two of the NHL's brightest stars will be a catalyst for Jarome Iginla.

The way things have gone lately for Calgary's leading scorer, he could use it.

The Calgary Flames captain has gone five games without scoring a goal, and has only one tally and three points in nine clashes.

A visit from Sidney Crosby -- a potential linemate at the Olympics -- could ignite him, although Iginla said he doesn't head into a game like tonight's clash between the Flames and Pittsburgh Penguins getting caught up in trying to be the better star.

"I know he's at the top and what a great player he is, but you build those rivalries with the guys and the teams in your own division, moreso," Iginla said. "This one, I think, is a good challenge as a team. They won the Stanley Cup last year. We want to win it. We want to get better. We want to knock them off."

The Flames have fared quite well amidst Iginla's struggles -- a 5-3-1 mark in those nine games -- but so much of the team's success is usually predicated on his contributions.

The good news is he's had plenty of chances the past two games.

In Saturday's 3-2 shootout win over the Vancouver Canucks, Iginla was a force in all areas but offensive production. He fired six shots on goal, had five hits and a couple of takeaways.

He was just as noticeable in Monday's 3-2 shootout loss to the Colorado Avalanche, firing four shots on goal -- while seven were blocked and two missed the net -- along with a couple of takeaways and a hit.

"I tried to throw 13 shots at the net. Olli (Jokinen) had 10 shots at the net. When they go in, they'll go in bunches," Iginla said.

Then again, Iginla isn't the only Flames player in need of an offensive breakout. This is a squad that has scored four goals in only one of its last 20 games after averaging four goals per game in the first 10 games of the season.

"We're trying," Iginla insisted. "We got 46 shots (against Colorado) and 42 the game before. We had great chances. When it's not going in, you feel if you keep getting those chances and doing it consistently, they'll go in."

As much as the Flames need more offence, head coach Brent Sutter knows the danger in focusing too heavily on production.

He believes a major factor in the club's struggles through December was not enough commitment to the gameplan, so he doesn't want to see his team step backward in that department.

"You're walking a fine line here, because we don't want to change what we are as a team and what we want to be about," Sutter said. "We've worked hard to get to this point and don't want to go on a different path, because we'll be in trouble."

That said, even Sutter will admit the struggling powerplay could make a difference.

The Flames failed to score on four chances Monday -- including a late third-period man-up and a rarely seen five-on-three powerplay in OT.

They're on a zero-for-14 skid over the past five games.

"We're going over it. The powerplay needs to be big for us," Iginla said. "It could have been the difference in the last couple of games, and we wouldn't have been in shootouts.

"We worked on it today in practice, worked over some video, want it to be better and know it needs to be better, so we're going to keep working at it."

RANDY.SPORTAK@SUNMEDIA.CA


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