The Calgary Flames (17-14-3) have been playing solid hockey the last while. While they’ve had some awful luck on their power play, their underlyings aren’t horrendous, and their even strength play has been very good. After a very good performance in a 6-1 thumping of the Vancouver Canucks on Sunday night, we’ll see if the Flames have rediscovered their swagger when they face the St. Louis Blues (22-11-2), a team that has gone a bit cold lately but remains near the top of the heap in the NHL standings.
The puck drops at 7:30 p.m. MT on Sportsnet 960 The Fan and Sportsnet West.
Last night’s lines, courtesy of Daily Faceoff:
Gaudreau – Monahan (A) – Ferland
Tkachuk – Backlund – Frolik
Bennett – Jankowski – Hathaway
Brouwer (A) – Stajan – Lazar
Giordano (C) – D.Hamilton
Brodie – Hamonic
Kulak – Stone
Mike Smith makes his 30th start of the season for the Flames. He’s 13-11-3 with a 2.61 goals against average and a .918 save percentage. He’s backed up by David Rittich. The healthy scratches are Matt Bartkowski and Freddie Hamilton, as they have been for awhile. Jaromir Jagr heads back to the sidelines, as he’s out tonight (and is day-to-day) with a lower-body injury.
The Flames made some tweaks to their power play units against Vancouver, ending up with two interesting groups:
- Johnny Gaudreau, Sean Monahan, Matthew Tkachuk, Mark Giordano and Mark Jankowski on the first unit
- Mikael Backlund, Sam Bennett, Micheal Ferland, T.J. Brodie and Dougie Hamilton on the second unit
Gulutzan was complementary after morning skate of the performance of the two units, noting they got some good looks, so expect the same groups to suit up again today. Sadly, that means no BrouwerPlay, folks.
Johnny Gaudreau has 40 points. Sean Monahan has 30 points. Nobody else has more than 20. That said, the secondary scoring has started to get going again and the third line was very good against Vancouver. That will need to continue for the Flames to have success going forward.
Projected lines via Daily Faceoff:
Sobotka – Schenn – Tarasenko
Steen – Stastny – Thompson
Paajarvi – Berglund – Barbashev
Upshall – Brodziak – Jaskin
Pietrangelo – Gunnarsson
Edmondson – Parayko
Dunn – Bortuzzo
Carter Hutton starts for the Blues tonight. He’s 5-2-0 with a 1.63 goals against and a .949 save percentage in nine appearances. He’s backed up by Jake Allen, who’ll start tomorrow in Edmonton. The healthy scratches are Jordan Schmaltz, Sammy Blais and Oscar Sundqvist.
St. Louis has scored just three goals over their past four games, including two games getting shut out entirely. That said, their entire first line is in the top 20 in league scoring. They’re a potent group who play a tight defensive game and then rely on mistakes from the other team to create offense. Expect a tight-checking game tonight.
Flames: Daniel Pribyl (knee) and Kris Versteeg (hip) are on the injured reserve. Jaromir Jagr (lower-body) is day-to-day.
St. Louis: Robby Fabbri (knee), Zach Sanford (shoulder), Jaden Schwartz (ankle) and Jay Bouwmeester (undisclosed) are all on the injured reserve.
When Last We Met
In keeping with the recent “man, the NHL schedule is weird” theme, this is the third and final game between these teams this season. They’ve split the first two; the Blues beat the Flames 5-2 in St. Louis and the Flames won 7-4 in Calgary.
Know Thy Enemy
Here are some accounts that tweet about the Blues:
Sum It Up
The Flames have some confidence in their offense after putting up six against Vancouver. And they’ll need it as they face one of the league’s top teams in the final game of their season series.
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