A starving Iginla can still feast on Oilers

DEREK VAN DIEST -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 9:41 AM ET

Jarome Iginla has feasted on the Edmonton Oilers in the past.

In 60 career games against the team he grew up watching as a kid in St. Albert, the Calgary Flames captain has 20 goals and 33 assists.

He has six points in four games this year.

But Iginla heads into tonight's contest not having scored a goal in his last nine games - his longest drought of the season.

"He's not the type of player that needs to score to be effective," said Oilers head coach Craig MacTavish.

"He's a handful and he does a lot physically, so he's not a guy that just depends on the offence. It's not a case of, if he doesn't score he's hurting the team. He's a guy that's a key cog and contributor even though he's not finding himself in the goal-scoring column."

Iginla still leads the Flames in scoring despite not registering a goal in nearly a month. He has 32 goals and 33 assists in 52 games this season.

"He's obviously a dangerous player and he can start another streak any time," said Oilers defenceman Tom Gilbert. "We always have to be aware when he's on the ice."

The Flames have gone 4-4-1 during Iginla's goalless drought. He last scored on Jan. 5 in a 6-4 win over the Los Angeles Kings. But he does have five assists since then.

"Everyone knows how good of a player he is," said Oilers forward Kyle Brodziak.

"He's been a great player for a lot of years. Just because he hasn't scored for a while doesn't mean he's still not the same great player that he's always been. That whole line is pretty skilled, it's one of the best lines in the league. We just have to do a good job of not giving them too many opportunities."

The last time the two teams met the Oilers were playing some of their best hockey of the season. They beat the Flames 2-1 to extend a season-high winning streak to four games.

Heading into tonight's contest the Oilers are going in on a two-game losing skid.

The Flames, meanwhile, have won four of their last five games and are currently tied for second in the Northwest Division.

"I think the last time we played them everyone came to play, everyone was ready. We were focused energized and physical," Gilbert said. "That was the big difference in that game. Hopefully we can build off the good physical period we had against Dallas and bring it to this game."

In their 4-1 loss to the Stars, the Oilers tried to run their opponents out of the building. They won the physical battle but lost the game. Against the Flames they're facing a team that likes to push back.

"We have to put in the same effort we did last time," said Oilers forward Kyle Brodziak.

"They're a team that plays hard and we know that. Obviously we have to try and out-battle them."


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