FGD 34: A Missouri matinee (1pm MT, SN West)

After grinding out a victory on Saturday afternoon in St. Paul, the Calgary Flames (21-10-2, 44 points) are continuing their trek through the Central Division. This afternoon they face the lowly St. Louis Blues (12-14-4, 28 points), who are three points out of the National Hockey League’s basement.

The action kicks off at 1 p.m. MT on Sportsnet West and Sportsnet 960 The Fan.

The Flames

Projected lines, via Daily Faceoff:

Gaudreau – Monahan – Lindholm
Tkachuk – Backlund –  Neal
Quine – Jankowski – Czarnik
Rychel – Ryan – Hathaway

Giordano – Brodie
Hanifin – Hamonic
Kylington – Andersson

David Rittich gets the start, the first time in his NHL career he’s starting back-to-back games. Mike Smith will back him up.

Mikael Backlund returns to the lineup after missing four games, but Sam Bennett is out day-to-day with an upper body injury. Kerby Rychel, freshly called up, is expected to play.

Dalton Prout is the team’s lone healthy scratch.

The Flames are 6-1-0 in December and a pretty impressive 16-5-2 since getting thumped by the Penguins back in late October. The Flames have shown the ability to win track meets or grind out tight wins. They’re currently in first place in the Pacific Division.

The Blues

Projected lines, via Daily Faceoff:

Steen – O’Reilly – Tarasenko
Schwartz – Schenn – Perron
Maroon – Bozak – Thomas
Nolan – Barbashev – Sundqvist

Bouwmeester – Parayko
Dunn – Bortuzzo
Butler – Schmaltz

Jake Allen starts for the Blues, backed up by Jordan Binnington. Their extra skater is Zach Sanford.

The Blues’ December has been all over the place. They’ve had close games with Edmonton, Winnipeg, Florida and Colorado. They’ve also been on the wrong side of drubbings from Arizona and Vancouver. They’re a really inconsistent bunch and they’ve already gotten their coach fired. It’ll be curious to see what happens if they keep playing the same way.

The Numbers

Wins 21 12
Points 44 28
Corsi Close 54.3% 48.1%
Power Play 21.6% 21.9%
Penalty Kill 79.0% 84.5%

Injury Report

The Flames are without Mike Smith, Mikael Backlund, Juuso Valimaki, Michael Frolik and Michael Stone. As mentioned, Smith or Backlund could return today – potentially both.

The Blues are without Robby Fabbri, Alex Pietrangelo, Carl Gunnarsson and Joel Edmundson.

Season Series

This is the second of three meetings between the Flames and Blues. St. Louis beat the Flames 5-3 back in October. They’ll meet one more time in Calgary on Saturday to close things out.

Know Thy Enemy

Your Blues Twitter follows for tonight:

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