Roughly 17 days ago, the Calgary Flames began the longest homestand of their season. They’ve completed six of seven games on this stretch and while they haven’t been perfect – and at times they’ve looked a bit clunky – they’ve posted a pretty strong 4-2-0 record thus far. The Flames can tip the scales of this homestand towards “really good” tonight when they host a heavy hitter in the form of the St. Louis Blues, who sit at the top of the Western Conference with a 13-4-0 record. One of those wins? That came against the Flames just prior to this stretch of home games. Can the Flames get a measure of revenge?
The puck drops at 7 p.m. MT on Sportsnet 960 The Fan and Sportsnet West.
Here are tonight’s projected lines, courtesy of Daily Faceoff:
Gaudreau – Monahan (A) – Ferland
Tkachuk – Backlund – Frolik
Bennett – Jankowski – Jagr
Versteeg – Lazar – Brouwer (A)
Giordano (C) – D.Hamilton
Brodie – Hamonic
Kulak – Stone
Like sands through the hourglass, Mike Smith starts for the 16th time in 17 games. He’s 9-6-0 with a 2.55 goals against average and .924 save percentage. The healthy scratches will be Matt Bartkowski, Freddie Hamilton and Matt Stajan. Travis Hamonic draws back in, so Rasmus Andersson heads back to Stockton (albeit after playing quite well in his one-game stint).
The Flaems have won four of their six games on this lengthy homestand, but yesterday head coach Glen Gulutzan pointed out one area where the team’s under-performing: allowing scoring chances against.
We feel that we’re one of the top teams creating chances. But we’re one of the bottom teams in giving them up right now, and we don’t think with the players we have that we should be in that situation. Our emphasis today was on three strategic areas; we feel we’re leaking too much oil and we want to make sure we tighten those up.
Johnny Gaudreau comes in on a six game point streak. He’s got 22 points this season and is sixth in the NHL in scoring. His entire line has been dynamite this season.
Projected lines via Daily Faceoff:
Schwartz – Schenn – Tarasenko
Sobotka – Stastny – Steen
Jaskin – Sundqvist – Paajarvi
Upshall – Brodziak – Thorburn
Gunnarsson – Pietrangelo
Edmundson – Parayko
Dunn – Bortuzzo
All indications are that Jake Allen is back in after giving up four goals, getting pulled and taking the loss on Saturday against the Islanders. He’s 9-4-1 with a 2.59 goals against average and .914 save percentage. Their extras look to be Beau Bennett and Nate Prosser.
The Blues were very unhappy with their performance against the Islanders, just their fourth loss this season. They’re still the top team in the Western Conference and they should be motivated this evening. Expect the Flames to have to weather an early storm this evening.
Flames: Daniel Pribyl (knee) is on the injured reserve.
St. Louis: Zach Sanford (shoulder), Patrick Berglund (shoulder), Robby Fabbri (knee) and Jay Bouwmeester (ankle) are on the injured reserve.
When Last We Met
This is the second meeting between these teams this season. The Flames lost 5-2 in St. Louis three weeks ago, in the final game before the homestand. They played well and Mikael Backlund scored twice, but the difference was a pair of Blues power play goals.
Know Thy Enemy
Check out these Blues-related accounts that are worth a follow:
Sum It Up
The Flames wrap up their mammoth seven-game homestand with a potential “make up” game against a really good team that they matched up surprisingly well against (but lost). There’s probably no better way to send themselves off on a long road trip than with a statement game against a big-time opponent.
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