Game Preview: Flames vs St. Louis Blues

CALGARY FLAMES (4-4-3 11 points) vs. ST. LOUIS BLUES (7-5-1 15 points) GAME 12

 

PREVIEW:

The Flames get ready to play their 8th home game of the season as the St. Louis Blues come to town for the first of three meetings between the two clubs. The Flames did not fare well against the Blues last season as they lost three of their four meetings, while only scoring a total of six goals.

The Flames played their best sixty minute game of the season on Wednesday night, defeating the Dallas Stars 7-4. The Flames were led by Mike Cammalleri, who returned to the line-up after missing three games with a hip injury, recording a hat trick and adding an assist.

Jarome Iginla also played inspired hockey, after being called out by former teammate Rhett Warrener, with two assists and a fight.

The Blues looked like they were once again on their way to competing for first place in the West after a 6-1-0 start but then dropped five straight.

After leading the league in goals against last season, a remarkable 1.89 per game, the Blues have had trouble keeping the puck out of their net this season, averaging 3.23 goals against a game, ranking 24th in the league.

Jaroslav Halak has missed eight games due to a lingering groin issue and Brian Elliott has not been the same goalie he was last year, when he was an all-star.

It could be a special team’s game tonight, as the Blues and Flames power play rank first and second in the league, respectively. But as good as their power plays have been to start the season, both teams have struggled killing penalties (Blues- 24th, Flames- 27th),

Leland Irving will once again get the start for the Flames tonight, while the Blues will counter with rookie Jake Allen, who gets the nod over struggling Elliott and injured Halak.

 

PROJECTED LINES:

 

Flames:                                                                        Blues:

1- HUDLER-TANGUAY-CERVENKA                           1- PERRON-BACKES-OSHIE

2- GLENCROSS-HORAK-IGINLA                               2- SCHWARTZ-BERGLUND-STEWART

3- CAMMALLERI-STAJAN-STEMPNIAK                     3- McDONALD-STEEN-TARASENKO

4- COMEAU-JONES-JACKMAN                                 4- SOBOTKA-NICHOL-REEVES

 

1- BOUWMEESTER-GIORDANO                               1- JACKMAN-SHATTENKIK

2- WIDEMAN-BRODIE                                                2- PIETRANGELO- COLE

3- SMITH-BABCHUK                                                   3- RUSSELL-POLAK

 

1- IRVING                                                                    1- ALLEN

2- MacDONALD                                                          2- ELLIOTT

 

EXTRA- BEGIN, SARICH, BUTLER                            EXTRA- REDDEN, D'AGOSTINI

 

INJURIES:

Flames: G- Miikka Kiprusoff (Knee- IR), C- Mikael Backlund (Knee- IR), LW- Sven Baertschi (Hip Flexor- IR), C- Paul Byron (Broken Hand- IR)

Blues: G- Jaroslav Halak (Groin- Day-to-Day), RW- Jamie Langenbrunner (Hip Surgery- IR)

 

STATS:

Flames

PLAYER

GP

G

A

PTS

+/-

A. Tanguay

11

4

7

11

-1

L. Stempniak

11

5

4

9

5

J. Hudler

8

4

5

9

1

M. Cammalleri

8

3

6

9

1

D. Wideman

11

2

6

8

2

 

Blues

PLAYER

GP

G

A

PTS

+/-

K. Shattenkirk

13

1

12

13

2

A. Pietrangelo

13

3

9

12

-2

A. Steen

13

3

9

12

-1

V. Tarasenko

13

6

5

11

-2

T.J. Oshie

13

4

6

10

-1

 

PP-

Flames: 27.5% (2nd)

Blues: 34.7% (1st)

PK-

Flames: 72.5% (27th)

Blues: 77.6% (23rd)

 

WESTERN CONFERENCE STANDINGS:

 

GP

W

L

OTL

PTS

1. CHICAGO

13

10

0

3

23

2. ANAHEIM

12

9

2

1

19

3. VANCOUVER

12

8

2

2

18

4. NASHVILLE

14

7

3

4

18

5. SAN JOSE

13

7

3

3

17

6. DETROIT

13

7

4

2

16

7. ST. LOUIS

13

7

5

1

15

8. DALLAS

14

7

6

1

15

 

9. PHOENIX

14

6

6

2

14

10. MINNESOTA

14

6

6

2

14

11. EDMONTON

13

5

5

3

13

12. CALGARY

11

4

4

3

11

13. COLORADO

12

5

6

1

11

14. LOS ANGELES

11

4

5

2

10

15. COLUMBUS

13

4

7

2

10

 

MY TAKE:

As negative as I was about the Flames heading into their game against the Stars, I was thrilled to watch them play, what I thought, their most complete sixty minutes of the season.

For the first time since I do cannot remember, the Flames had an answer for whatever the Stars threw at them. They did not let the Stars back in the game at any point and kept their foot on the medal, finishing with the game with a season high seven goals.

As big of a game as it was for Cammalleri personally, I feel it was even bigger for the Flames to get him going. Cammalleri played his best hockey for his career in a Flames uniform when he scored 39 goals in 2008-09 so expectations will always be high for him here in Calgary.

It was a good performance for the Flames but their most hated word, consistency, once again comes to the forefront.

The Stars had a lot of defensive breakdowns that the Flames took advantage of. Good team’s makes you pay for mistakes, now the Flames just have to do it consistently.

The Blues are a big test for the Flames. The Blues have struggled after getting off to a 6-1-0 start but have an impressive top nine forwards, including super rookie Vladimir Tarasenko (6g, 5a 11 points) and are led in scoring by their two studs on the backend, Kevin Shattenkirk (13 points) and Alex Pietrangelo (12 points).

A victory tonight would be good for the confidence of the Flames and for their fans.

 

 

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