Preview: Blues at Flames
The defending Stanley Cup champion St. Louis Blues try for their seventh straight victory and a three-game sweep through Western Canada when they visit the Calgary Flames on Saturday. St. Louis won the first five by one goal - four in overtime - before making life easier on itself with a 5-2 victory over Edmonton on Wednesday.
The Blues are eight points better than they were at this point last season, when they eventually fell below hockey's version of .500 before rallying to win it all. “The six-game win streak, yeah, it’s great,” St. Louis goaltender Jake Allen told reporters after making 32 saves Wednesday. “It doesn’t mean a whole lot right now. We’ll take the points, but like I said before, we’re finding ways to win games. I think last year at the start of the year, we were finding ways to lose games. Right now we’re just trying to find ways to win.” Calgary has won two straight and four of its last five games after a 5-2 victory over New Jersey on Thursday, improving to 6-1-1 at home this season. "I think that was one of our best complete efforts of the season," Flames left wing Johnny Gaudreau told reporters after scoring in his second straight game. "It was a good game for our team."
TV: 10 p.m. ET, FS Midwest (St. Louis), CBC, Sportsnet, Sportsnet360, Sportsnet One, CITY (Calgary)
ABOUT THE BLUES (11-3-3): Defenseman Alex Pietrangelo scored his sixth goal and had two assists Wednesday, giving him eight of his 14 points in the last six games. Ryan O'Reilly (team-high 17 points) has three goals and six assists in his last six games while David Perron recorded half his 16 points and scored twice in the past six contests. Jordan Binnington (8-2-3, 2.43 goals-against average, .921 save percentage) is expected back in goal after Allen won the finale of a back-to-back for the second time in five days.
ABOUT THE FLAMES (10-7-2): Coach Bill Peters shuffled his defensive pairings with Noah Hanifin separated from Travis Hamonic for the first time since becoming a Flame prior to last season, and he responded with a goal and two assists. "Sometimes it's good to freshen things up a bit and play with someone new," Hanifin told reporters. "Things were running a little stale for a bit so I thought that helped (Thursday)." Hamonic joined reigning Norris Trophy winner Mark Giordano on the top unit while Rasmus Andersson was promoted to join Hanifin on the second pairing.
1. Calgary F Elias Lindholm has recorded half his team-high 10 goals and 11 of his 17 points during a nine-game point streak.
2. St. Louis went 2-for-3 on the power play Wednesday and is 9-for-27 in its past eight games with all the goals coming in four contests while the Flames were 2-for-6 with the man advantage in each of their last two games.
3. The clubs split the last six meetings covering the past two season series with Calgary outscoring the Blues 22-20.
PREDICTION: Flames 3, Blues 2