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Blues meet old friends in Calgary

by Chris Pinkert / St. Louis Blues

CALGARY - Troy Brouwer scored one of the biggest goals in Blues history last season when he crashed the net and broke a 2-2 tie in the third period against the Chicago Blackhawks in Game 7, sending the Blues to the second round and an eventual trip to the Western Conference Final.

But that was then.

Now, Brouwer plays for the Calgary Flames and will be in the lineup tonight (9 p.m. CT, FSMW, KMOX) when the Blues visit the Scotiabank Saddledome on the final stop on their three-game Western Canada road trip.

"I loved my last year in St. Louis. I loved getting to know the guys and the city - it was phenomenal," Brouwer said Saturday after the morning skate. "Unfortunately, I had to move on. It's always difficult, it's always a weird feeling when you play your old team and your old friends."

Many of the Blues spent Friday evening at Brouwer's house in Calgary, where they relaxed and caught up over dinner.

But tonight, it will be all business.

"As much as we like the guy, you get out there and have something extra knowing you have the opportunity to beat one of your friends," Blues captain Alex Pietrangelo said. "It gives you extra bragging rights. He's certainly a hard guy to play against as I played against him before when he was with Washington and Chicago. We know what to expect from him."

Video: Blues meet old friend in Brouwer

"Being part of our team when we went that deep in the playoffs, we all grew together like a family and all of a sudden he's gone," said defenseman Carl Gunnarsson, who will return to the lineup tonight after missing two games with an upper-body injury. "It'll be a little weird but we'll put that aside tonight at game time and after we'll chat a bit, hug and have a handshake. That's kind of how it works."

One guy the Blues saw Friday at Brouwer's house but probably won't see tonight is goalie Brian Elliott, who will backup Chad Johnson for tonight's game. Elliott hasn't had a great start statistically in Calgary in the early going, posting an 0-3 record with a 4.72 goals-against average and an .829 save-percentage.

"The best part about Brian is when things aren't going right for him, he works harder to correct that," Blues defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk said. "He takes a lot of pride in the product that he puts out on the ice and that's why he was so great for us. In the locker room, he was such a great source of inspiration for guys that working hard can get you places. I think he's going to be a great example for a lot of those young guys in the locker room who have to take that step of doing the right things to become a winning team."

"I just know he's a good goalie," Blues Head Coach Ken Hitchcock said when asked about Elliott's slow start. "He's very competitive, never gives up on a shot, guys love playing for him. He's so darn competitive and so focused that I think everybody knows on our team how good he is.

"Hopefully he never plays against us."

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