The Calgary Flames would like to score more goals

At 2-4-1, the Calgary Flames are looking for a result tonight as they host the Colorado Avalanche at the Saddledome.

One way to get that result? Score some freaking goals.

Randy Sportak of the Calgary Sun notes that the Flames have scored two or fewer goals in all but two of their clashes this season. They’ve managed only six goals over the last four games and haven’t scored in 119 minutes and seven seconds of action — all on home ice. (The Flames scored in the first period against the Rangers two games ago, then were shutout by Pekka Rinne and the Predators last time out.)

“It’s early in the year. I don’t think we’re too worried about that,” said winger Alex Tanguay after Tuesday’s practice at the Saddledome.

“If you objectively look at our lineup and the guys able to put the puck in the net, I don’t think goal scoring is going to be an issue. It is right now, and we’re going to have to rectify that, but we’re not going to worry whether we’re going to score goals or not. We know we are.”

Not sure Tanguay’s looking at the same lineup we are. Outside of Jarome Iginla, Calgary doesn’t have much in the way of established scorers. Tanguay’s primarly a setup man, having never scored more than 29 goals in a season. Rene Bourque’s had back-to-back 27-goal campaigns, which is probably as much as Calgary can expect to get out of Rene Bourque. Curtis Glencross potted a career-high 24 last year (having never scored more than 15) while Olli Jokinen and David Moss each tallied 17.

Do the Flames have decent offensive balance? Sure. But the whole is greater than the sum of its parts, and that can be a problem. When some of those parts stop working…well, that’s how you end up with 15 goals through seven games.

That said, the Flames are trying to kickstart the offense. The news out of today’s gameday skate is that Moss will drop from first-line center to second-line wing, meaning Brendan Morrison will center Tanguay and Iginla up front while Moss will play with Jokinen and Glencross.

The Moss move is a nod to last season, when the OMG line — Olli, Moss, Glencross — emerged as one of Calgary’s best. I would like to point out I did not make up the OMG thing, I’m merely reporting it.

Video: Drew Doughty (mostly) avoids massive Matthew Tkachuk hit

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Hockey is such a fast sport that it’s probably not so easy to make someone your “target.” Instead, a big hit often comes down to the right combination of circumstance and timing.

Still, there’s no denying that Matthew Tkachuk is gunning for Drew Doughty (and the Kings are gunning for Tkachuk) on Wednesday.

Doughty isn’t oblivious to that notion, either, as you can see him avoid what looked like a pretty terrifying hit above.

We’ve already covered the early violence in this game, and it’s quite possible that there will be more carnage going forward. Stay tuned.

Blackhawks bolster Central lead, shine harsh light on Penguins’ struggles

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Blame it on injuries if you want, or emphasize the Chicago Blackhawks’ overall hot finish to the season. Either way, Chicago scorched the Pittsburgh Penguins by a score of 5-1, a contest that felt more or less over by the time the first period ended 4-0 in the Blackhawks’ favor.

The Blackhawks scored by committee on Wednesday, with Artemi Panarin (goal, assist) and Patrick Kane (two assists) being the headliners. Meanwhile, former Penguin Marian Hossa has quietly climbed to 25 goals on the season.

Meanwhile, the Penguins limped through this one and have now lost four consecutive games.

With this result, the Blackhawks look like close to a lock to win the Central Division title. Meanwhile, the Metro crown is virtually unthinkable for Pittsburgh, and the Penguins might also need to accept the likelihood that they may not enjoy home-ice advantage in the first round.

They’d probably accept that more easily if they can get healthier and get back on track. Wednesday was a little worrisome in those regards.

Video: An early taste of the Tkachuk-inspired violence in Kings vs. Flames

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BREAKING: the Los Angeles Kings really don’t appreciate Calgary Flames rookie-pest-forward Matthew Tkachuk thanks to that elbow on Drew Doughty (and the fallout from all … that).

Tkachuk responded by critiquing Doughty for “complaining to the media,” so there was testiness from the start.

There was jawing before the game. Then Jake Muzzin rebuked Tkachuk’s kind offer for a fight. Finally, Keith’s son dropped the gloves with Brayden McNabb:

It wasn’t the only bout of the opening frame, and there could be more blood to come beyond this Jarome IginlaDeryk Engelland feud:

Players from both teams better keep their heads up (and on a swivel) tonight. The Flames have to hope that this doesn’t result in injuries, judging from what happened to Johnny Gaudreau.

Avalanche sign Toews-like first-rounder Tyson Jost

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Things have been pretty bleak for the Colorado Avalanche this season, but at least they can look to a high pick in the next draft … and maybe dream about how their top pick from 2016 may pan out.

The Avs signed Tyson Jost, the 10th pick of the 2016 NHL Draft, to an entry-level contract on Wednesday. Colorado notes that he’ll jump right into some NHL action to close out this season.

It’s a nice sneak preview, as NHL insider Bob McKenzie noted on an NBCSN appearance (see above) that doing so will not burn the first year of Jost’s entry-level contract. Nice.

Even nicer? McKenzie also compares Jost favorably to … (drum-roll, though the headline spoiled it) Jonathan Toews.

Most obviously, the two both starred at the University of North Dakota. For the sake of fun, here are their numbers in their final years in the NCAA:

Jost: 16 goals, 35 points in 33 games, +17 rating (2016-17)
Toews: 18 goals, 46 points in 34 games (2006-07)

Naturally, Toews enthusiasts in particular will tell you that points aren’t everything … but maybe there are some shades of the two-way Blackhawks center there?

The Hockey News’ Ryan Kennedy raved that Jost has “man-strength already” back around the 2016 NHL Draft, as you can see in this profile.

“Jost oozes confidence and already looks like NHL captain material for the future.”

Hey, that does sound at least somewhat Toews-like, doesn’t it?

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In other signing news, the Buffalo News’ Mike Harrington reports that the Buffalo Sabres signed UMass-Lowell’s CJ Smith. More on that below.