After a day off after some travel, the Calgary Flames are back in action! But despite it being Saturday, the Flames instead play a matinee game against the St. Louis Blues. It’s a weird quirk in the schedule, and it’s also the first game of back-to-back games as they also play tomorrow against Detroit.
The Flames are coming off one of their most impressive victories of the season. Despite the Dallas Stars being really good and well-coached, and keying in on Johnny Gaudreau all game, it didn’t matter. The Flames got rock-solid goaltending from Karri Ramo and held on for their 15th win of the season and their 7th consecutive victory. All of a sudden, running the table on a long home-stand and a long road-trip seems like a possibility. If the Flames keep their wits about them, and keep getting good goaltending, it might actually happen.
And then the season will start to get really interesting, won’t it?
The puck drops today at 1pm MT on Sportsnet West (with Rick Ball and Jason York) and Sportsnet 960 The Fan!
Projected lines via your pals at Daily Faceoff:
So yeah, absolutely no changes expected for the Flames, who have somehow won seven in a row and not lost in the month of December. We’re as shocked as you are.
Karri Ramo gets his 21st start of the season. He’s 11-8-1 with a 2.79 goals against average and .907 save percentage. Since returning from the AHL on October 29, he’s 11-5-1 with a 2.56 goals against average and .912 save percentage, and he’s started 17 of 21 games since he’s returned. So, he’s the undisputed number-one right now by virtue of completely competent, average goaltending.
The Flames still can’t score on the power-play, and now it’s down at just over 10%, which is awful. That said, they’ve been really unlucky to not score lately and their puck movement has been a lot better. Well, when they’ve gotten into the zone. They’re still not great at that but hey, progress appears to be being made.
Projected lines via Daily Faceoff:
Last word was that Kyle Brodziak will miss today’s game and Scott Gomez will slot in as fourth line center.
Brian Elliott starts for the Blues. He’s basically become the back-up to Jake Allen this season, and he’s starting for just the 10th time this season. He’s 5-5-0 with a 2.44 goals against average and a .907 save percentage. He’s been fine, but think about this: ignoring the first few games, Karri Ramo has better numbers.
Like Calgary, St. Louis is a deep team with young kids chipping in. Watch out for Colton Parayko, who killed the Flames during their last meeting. Oh, and Robby Fabbri’s healthy again, so keep an eye out for him, because now the Blues have three lines that can hurt you offensively.
WHEN LAST WE MET
The Flames hosted the Blues in mid-October, narrowly losing a 4-3 decision.
All-time, the Flames hold the edge against St. Louis with a 74-72-14-4 record.
SUM IT UP
The Flames begin today’s action in a playoff spot.
And they have three games in hand on Vancouver. If they can keep rolling along, they can give themselves some breathing room in the standings. Thus far this season what we’ve learned is the Pacific Division is awful, and the Flames just need to stay with the pack – or slightly ahead of it – to keep their playoff hopes alive.
And that would’ve been a downright crazy thought a month ago, so the Flames have managed to pull their butts out of the proverbial fire in that sense.