for this game

Nash, Blue Jackets head to Calgary

Dec 13, 2010 - 4:20 PM
(Sports Network) - In the first season of an eight-year contract, Blue Jackets forward Rick Nash is committed to helping Columbus get back to the playoffs.

Even if he has to do it all himself at times.

Coming off one of his best games of the season, Nash's Blue Jackets start up a three-game road trip tonight against the Calgary Flames at the Saddledome.

The Blue Jackets have made the postseason just once since joining the NHL in 2000-01 and that run in the 2009 Stanley Cup playoffs resulted in a first- round sweep at the hands of the Detroit Red Wings. After ending that regular- season with a club-record 92 points, Columbus slipped to just 79 last year.

Currently tied for 10th in the Western Conference, the Blue Jackets won for just the second time in eight games on Saturday with a 3-1 triumph over the Rangers. Nash assisted on Columbus' first goal of the game, scored by Antoine Vermette on the power play in the second period, then netted a pair of third- period goals less than four minutes apart.

Nash's first tally, and the game-winner, came from an impossible angle from the goal line to the left of the net and his second of the game and 16th of the season came while Rangers' goaltender Henrik Lundqvist was trying to get back to the net after looking to get off for an extra attacker.

"Rick made two great plays that goal scorers make," said Blue Jackets head coach Scott Arniel. "I said all year long, he's doing everything he can to prove to critics that he put it out there last year. He's surprised me, I knew he was a great player but his work ethic and compete [are great]."

Nash notched his second three-point game of the season and has three goals in three games after a six-game goal drought. The forward also set a club record by playing in his 544th game with the franchise, which drafted him first overall in 2002.

Steve Mason made 32 saves in net for the Blue Jackets, who have lost three straight on the road and are set to visit Calgary, Vancouver and Edmonton. Columbus is 8-4-0 on the road overall this season.

Calgary hopes to avoid a third straight loss this evening after Friday's 3-2 shootout setback to Anaheim. Olli Jokinen and David Moss scored third-period goals to erase a 2-0 deficit and Henrik Karlsson ended with 23 saves.

"We think that if we play this way we will win a lot more than we are going to lose," Jokinen said. "We just have to make sure we bring this for our next game."

Mark Giordano and Jarome Iginla each had two assists for the Flames, who have won three of their last four at home and begin a three-game homestand this evening. They will look to improve on a 7-6-0 home mark against a club they pounded, 6-2, in Columbus on Oct. 22.

Rene Bourque sparked the Flames' third victory in four games over the Blue Jackets with a hat trick, while Karlsson made 20 saves in his NHL debut.

Mason was tagged for all six goals on 23 shots for the Blue Jackets, who did snap a four-game series road losing streak when these clubs last met at the Saddledome on Jan. 8.

Nash has six goals and 14 assists in 27 career games versus the Flames.