Bieksa, Mitchell own Flames' trio
Calgary Flames captain Jarome Iginla and linemates Kristian Huselius and Daymond Langkow have had little trouble finding the net — as long as a certain Vancouver defence pair is out of sight.
Kevin Bieksa and Willie Mitchell are minus-4 and minus-7, respectively, this season, but have been the Canucks' best tandem at shutting down the Flames' trio.
Iginla and company have combined for just five points and 24 shots in the last three meetings against Vancouver, while otherwise making life difficult for the opposition elsewhere.
They'll attempt to get the upper hand on Bieksa and Mitchell when Calgary hosts the Canucks Tuesday night in the sixth encounter of the season between the Western Conference rivals.
Iginla led the way with a goal and two assists in the Flames' 4-2 doubling of Edmonton on Sunday.
With his third four-point game in December, Iginla moved into a tie for third spot in the league's scoring race with 52 points (22 goals and 30 assists).
"I think Jarome, on most nights, has been our best player," Calgary coach Jim Playfair told reporters. "He has a real burning passion to be a top player and help lead our team."
Iginla is riding a three-game point streak, with two goals and six assists, while Huselius has four goals and six points in three games.
The Flames have scored 111 goals this season for an average of three per game — a standard they haven't reached through a season since the lockout-shortened 1994-95 campaign.
But they lit the lamp only seven times in three December battles with the Canucks — all losses — and five of those goals came in a 6-5 loss on Dec. 27 in Vancouver.
It didn't help that netminder Miikka Kiprusoff was enduring his worst stretch of the season. In seven outings heading into Sunday's Battle of Alberta, Kiprusoff was 2-4-1 with a 3.57 goals-against average.
But he rebounded against Edmonton, stopping 22 of 24 shots.
Kiprusoff set the tone in the first 20 seconds when he denied Ryan Smyth on a breakaway and turned aside the rebound.
He'll face a Vancouver outfit that has won three in a row to close to within one point of Calgary, which sits atop the Northwest Division with a 19-14-4 record.
The Canucks (20-18-1) followed up a post-Christmas home-and-home sweep of the Flames by thumping Edmonton 6-2 on Saturday.
"It's kind of fun to play Calgary," said Vancouver goalie Roberto Luongo. "Obviously we're fighting for first place [in the division], and it's kind of like a Stanley Cup final game. They're intense games and they're fun to play."
A year ago, facing the Flames was anything but fun for winger Daniel Sedin. He didn't score in eight matchups, but has four goals this season.
Daniel has six goals and 10 points during a four-game points streak, while twin brother Henrik has seven points in that span.
Canucks captain Markus Naslund is at the other end of the spectrum. The former 40-goal man hasn't scored in the last 14 contests.
Calgary continues its six-game homestand Thursday against Florida before Dallas pays a visit on Saturday (CBC, 10 p.m. ET).