Calgary, which opened the season 2-7-0, started this month with a
perfect five-game homestand and has taken that play on the road with
victories at Nashville and Western Conference-leading Dallas.
Red-hot forwards Johnny Gaudreau and Sean Monahan will take on the
challenge of St. Louis, which edged the Predators 2-1 on Thursday to
build its first winning streak in more than a month. The Blues still
are tied for the second-most points in the Western Conference
despite their uneven play to start December while Vladimir Tarasenko
has scored in four straight games to push his season total to 20.
“The man can shoot the puck,” St. Louis captain David Backes told
the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. “It’s impressive.”
TV: 3 p.m. ET, Sportsnet West (Calgary), FSN Midwest (St. Louis)
ABOUT THE FLAMES (15-14-2): Gaudreau leads a group of players who
have been producing regularly with three goals and four assists in
his last four games and tops the team with 33 points. Monahan has
posted nine points in his last seven contests and defenseman TJ
Brodie has collected eight in his last eight. The Flames are on a
roll despite converting only 2-of-47 chances with the man advantage
in their last 14 games and standing last in the league in
goals-against average (3.35).
ABOUT THE BLUES (19-10-4): Tarasenko only has three official
game-winning tallies but has scored numerous timely goals, prompting
goaltender Jake Allen to tell reporters. "That’s tough to find.
They’re one in a million, and we’ve got one." Defenseman Kevin
Shattenkirk has recorded a goal and seven assists during his
six-game point streak while Backes has notched four and three,
respectively, during an identical run. The Blues will face the
league’s worst penalty-killing unit Saturday and are 6-for-11 on the
power play over his last five contests.
[to top of second column]
1. The Blues have earned at least one point in eight straight
meetings (7-0-1), including a 4-3 victory on Oct. 13 in Calgary.
2. Calgary is last in the league on the power play (10.8 percent)
while St. Louis ranks second in penalty-killing (87.4 percent).
3. St. Louis backup G Brian Elliott (4-3-2, .907 save percentage) is
expected to get the start.
PREDICTION: Blues 3, Flames 2
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