Game Preview: Flames vs St. Louis Blues

CALGARY FLAMES (28-23-11 67 points) vs. ST. LOUIS BLUES (38-17-7 83 points) GAME 63

 

PREVIEW:

The Flames and Blues head into the dome tonight for a game probably not many fans have had their mind on all day. Both the Flames and Blues decided to stay pat, as neither one made a single trade today. Regardless there is a game to be played and more importantly two points on the line. The Blues have been one of the surprises this season, not the fact that they are in the playoff race but more of the fact that the Blues are competing with the Red Wings for the Central Division crown as they sit just two points back. The Flames on the other hand are trying to just prove that they are a playoff team as they are currently on a 3 game skid and sit 3 points back of the 8th place Dallas Stars.

The Blues have done it by committee this season as they don’t have a single player with 50 points. Strong defense and goaltending have been the Blues motto this season. St. Louis leads the league in goals against averaging a remarkable 1.92 goals per game. All-Star Brian Elliot and Jaroslav Halak are arguably the best goaltending tandem in the league as they have combined for the most shutouts, posting 12 blanks (6 each).

The Flames have to simply be more consistent. The Flames are 5-1-5 in the month of February are currently on a three game losing skid which is not only unacceptable but they really can’t afford many more loses with only 20 games remaining on the schedule. The Flames top players, Jarome Iginla, Mike Cammalleri, Olli Jokinen and Curtis Glencross have to start becoming the Flames best players. Minus Glencross who was injured, when the Flames were winning those top guys were their top guys. It doesn’t get much simpler than that. The Flames were outshot 45-21 against the Flyers on Saturday night, marking the 10th consecutive game they have been outshot. They need to start putting more pucks on net and stop relying so heavily on Miikka Kiprusoff.

Trade deadline aside the onus can’t be any more on the players as Flames management has once again given them another shot to try to figure things out and sneak into the final playoff position. If the Flames can do it, I’m not sure; I wouldn’t put my money on it. I would love them to prove me wrong otherwise I expect major changes in the off-season.

Finally Al McInnis will be honored before tonight’s game as McInnis will become the first player, in the Flames new ‘Forever a Flame’ program. I wasn’t old enough to see McInnis play in a Flames uniform but I will say it’s about time this guy is being honored as a Flame as he was so good for this franchise and is truly a class act. Honoring him is nice but McInnis' number 2 should be retired joining 9 and 30.

 

PROJECTED LINES:

Flames:                                                                        Blues:

1-GLENCROSS-JOKINEN-IGINLA                             1-McDONALD-BACKES-OSHIE

2-TANGUAY-CAMMALLERI-COMEAU                       2-SOBOTKA-BERGLUND-PERRON

3-DESBIENS -HORAK-JACKMAN                              3-PORTER-ARNOTT-STEWART

4- KOSTOPOULOS -STAJAN-BOUMA                       4-REAVES-NICHOL-CROMBEEN

 

1-BOUWMEESTER-SMITH                                         1-COLAIACOVO-PIETRANGELO

2-GIORDANO-HANNAN                                              2-JACKMAN-SHATTENKIRK

3-BRODIE-SARICH                                                      3-HUSKINS-POLAK

 

1-KIPRUSOFF                                                              1-HALAK

2-KARLSSON                                                               2-ELLIOTT

 

EXTRA- BABCHUK                                                       EXTRA- COLE, HENSICK   

 

INJURIES:

Flames: D- Chris Butler (Lower Body- 3 weeks), C- Mikael Backlund (Upper Body- IR), C- Blair Jones (Ankle- IR), RW- Lee Stempniak (Ankle- IR), C- David Moss (Lower Body- IR)

Blues: D- Kris Russell (Head- Day-to-Day), LW Alexander Steen (Concussion- IR), RW- Jamie Langenbrunner (Broken Foot- IR), RW- Matt D’Agostini (Head- IR)

 

STATS:

Flames

PLAYER

GP

GOALS

ASSISTS

POINTS

+/-

O. Jokinen

62

19

31

50

1

J. Iginla

62

23

25

48

-7

A. Tanguay

46

9

27

36

7

C Glencross

47

18

15

33

-4

M. Cammalleri

55

14

16

30

-12

 

Blues

PLAYER

GP

GOALS

ASSISTS

POINTS

+/-

D. Backes

62

18

25

43

18

T. Oshie

60

15

26

41

14

A. Pietrangelo

61

10

24

34

17

D. Perron

37

12

17

29

13

P. Berglund

62

13

15

28

-1

 

PP-

Flames: 17.4% (15th)

Blues: 14.8% (27th)

PK-

Flames: 83.6% (9th)

Blues: 82.4% (14th)

 

WESTERN CONFERENCE STANDINGS:

 

GP

WINS

LOSSES

OTL

POINTS

1. VANCOUVER

63

40

16

7

87

2. DETROIT

63

41

19

3

85

3. PHOENIX

62

32

21

9

73

4. ST. LOUIS

62

38

17

7

83

5. NASHVILLE

62

36

19

7

79

6. CHICAGO

64

33

24

7

73

7. SAN JOSE

61

32

22

7

71

8. DALLAS

63

33

26

4

70

 

9. L.A

62

28

22

12

68

10. COLORADO

63

32

27

4

68

11. CALGARY

62

28

23

11

67

12.MINNESOTA

62

28

25

9

65

13. ANAHEIM

62

27

25

10

64

14.EDMONTON

61

24

31

6

54

15. COLUMBUS

62

18

37

7

43

 

DID YOU KNOW?

  • Last ten games: Flames 4-1-5, Blues 7-3-0

 

GAME DAY QUOTE:

"You try not to think about it, you can't control the situation so the best you can do is just prepare for the game tonight… It's a big game for our hockey club. We've got to come out and play better than we have over this homestand."

– Flames defensemen Scott Hannan on the pressures of deadline day

 

 

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