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Preview: Flames vs. Blues

by Staff Writer / Calgary Flames

FLAMES (0-1-0) at BLUES (0-1-0)


Season series: The Flames swept the four-game series in 2010-11, with goalie Miikka Kiprusoff earning all four victories for Calgary.

Big Story: The new season is barely under way, but both Calgary and St. Louis will be looking to rebound from disappointing opening-night losses. On Saturday, both the Flames and Blues had a tough time as Calgary lost 5-3 to the visiting Pittsburgh Penguins and St. Louis dropped its home-opener, 4-2 to the Nashville Predators.

Team Scope:

Flames: With seasoned verterans like captain Jarome Iginla, defenseman Jay Bouwmeester and goalie Miikka Kiprusoff, the time is now for Calgary to turn it around. After having missed the playoffs the last two seasons and bowing out in six games of the 2009 Western Conference Semifinal series to Chicago, the fans known as "The C of Red" are eager to see their club return to contention.

To get there, Calgary will need to turn out a full 60-minute effort. While left wing Curtis Glencross got the Flames on the board early with a first-period tally against Pittsburgh Saturday, Calgary fell apart in the second with way too many turnovers, leading to four unanswered Penguins goals. Although Calgary grinded hard in the third to cut the decifict to 4-3, it was too late to make up for the lackluster second-period showing.

"The second period is definitely what cost us tonight," Iginla told reporters. "We got sloppy, we had way too many turnovers, we didn't play good hockey. (Pittsburgh is) a quick team and we can't turn the puck over like that."

Blues: Just like Monday's opponent, the Blues have not played a post-season series since a WCSF exit in the 2009 Playoffs. But the future looks bright in St. Louis with off-season veteran acquisitions Jamie Langenbrunner and Jason Arnott helping to guide talented youngsters like captain David Backes, defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk and goalie Jaroslav Halak.

It should be this type of leadership that will help the Blues bounce back from disheartening defeats like battling back to tie the game twice against Nashville on Saturday, only to surrender two late goals and end up on the losing side.

"We'll call this speed bump in the road No. 1, nothing to panic about," Backes told reporters after Saturday's game. "We outshot them two to one, we just didn't bury our chances, and they did."

Who's Hot: Kiprusoff made 32 saves vs. Pittsburgh on Saturday and is riding a four-game winning streak against the Blues. ... Arnott had a solid debut with St. Louis on Saturday, tallying a power-play goal.

Injury Report: Despite battling back spasms, Iginla was in the Flames lineup Saturday. Forwards Brendan Morrison (knee), Mikael Backlund (broken finger), Brett Carson (back), and Pierre-Luc Letourneau-Leblond (suspension) are not expected to play Monday. ... Blues defenseman Carlo Colaiacovo left Saturday's game midway through the second period and is listed as having an upper-body injury. Forwards David Perron (post-concussion symptoms) and B.J. Crombeen (broken scapula) are on injured reserve.

Stat Pack: Although it got doubled up with the 4-2 loss to Nashville Saturday, St. Louis outshot the Predators 33-16.

Puck Drop: With St. Louis struggling recently against Calgary, it will need all the defensive help it can get Monday. However, there is still no decision on Coloaiacovo's status after he got rocked hard by the Preds' Blake Geoffrion on Saturday.

"No update for right now," Blues coach Davis Payne said. "We'll just check back on him in the morning. A little bit awkward situation."

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