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Photo Credit: Sergei Belski / USA Today Sports

FGD 75: Looking for points in St. Louis (5pm MT, City TV)

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The Calgary Flames have lost two games in a row. That’s a statement that we haven’t had to use since mid January, which probably tells you everything you need to know about why they’re probably going to be a playoff team. Tonight they face a team that’s somewhat of a mirror image in the St. Louis Blues.

The Blues were once a team that looked like they wouldn’t make the playoffs due to some rough defensive play and bad goaltending. But just like Jake Allen figured his game out and got on a roll, so did former teammate Brian Elliott. If the Flames can get back to playing the way they were prior to losing Micheal Ferland and Matthew Tkachuk for a couple of games, this could be a very interesting game. After dropping two games in a row, the Flames could definitely use the points as they try to punch their ticket to the playoffs.

The action starts at 5 p.m. MT on City TV and Sportsnet 960 The Fan!

THE FLAMES

Lines via Daily Faceoff:

After having a night off on Thursday, Brian Elliott starts once more for the Flames. He’s 23-14-3 with a 2.50 goals against average and a .911 save percentage. He’s been Calgary’s best player (or one of them) in virtually every game he’s played in the past six or seven weeks.

Matthew Tkachuk returns from suspension and the 3M Line is reunited. That means the Flames pre-injury/suspension lineup is now reunited as well, so let’s all just pretend the past two games never happened. Sam Bennett goes back to center, Freddie Hamilton goes back to the press box (to join Rasmus Andersson, Dennis Wideman and Curtis Lazar), and hopefully the Flames power play can wake up with Tkachuk’s strong net-front presence. The special teams battle has sunk the Flames over the last while and they could really use a strong performance from either power play unit.

THE BLUES

Lines via Daily Faceoff:

Winner of three games in a row, Jake Allen gets the start for the Blues. He’s 29-19-3 with a 2.44 goals against average and a .913 save percentage. He’s really turned his game around after an uneven first half of the season. His strong play in net has come at the right time for the Blues, who’s gone from being a tenuous potential playoff team to being, well, as it it as the Flames.

The Blues are without Robby Fabbri, Dmitrij Jaskin or Paul Stastny. That said, they still have Vladimir Tarasenko and his insane scoring prowess for the Flames to worry about. St. Louis has a pretty strong top six and top two pairings, but their depth falls off a bit and they’re vulnerable to a coaching staff that can find good line matches. The challenge for the Flames will be managing their bench on the final night of a road trip against a team that is very good at moving the puck and creating chances with their speed.

THE NUMBERS

FLAMES BLUES
Wins 41 40
Points
(Pct.)
86
(.581)
85
(.582)
Power Play 19.1% 22.0%
Penalty Kill 80.9% 84.9%
Score-Adjusted Corsi 50.6% 50.6%

HISTORY LESSON

All-time, the Flames and Blues have played 168 times in the regular season, including twice earlier this season. The Flames have a slight 76-74-18 edge. The teams split their first two meetings, with the road team winning each game (which may bode well for tonight).

KNOW THY ENEMY

Here are some Blues follows for you:

MAGIC NUMBERS

The Flames enter tonight’s game with a magic number of 5. Any combination of 5 Flames wins or Kings losses clinches a playoff spot for the Flames. The Kings are playing the New York Rangers later tonight in Los Angeles, so we could see some magic number movement regardless of what happens in this game.

SUM IT UP

After dropping two games in a row, tonight is a big game for the Flames. A win against the Blues gives them a nudge towards an official playoff spot and fends off another wildcard team in the race to avoid playing Chicago in the first round.