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Blues look to extend win streak to seven vs. Flames

by Aaron Vickers

CALGARY -- The St. Louis Blues hope to increase their winning streak to seven games when they visit the Calgary Flames on Thursday.

But the Blues, who last lost a game 4-3 in a shootout to the Flames at Scotiabank Saddledome on Dec. 23, know not to take Calgary lightly.

"That was a wake-up call that if you let your foot off the gas, teams are going to take advantage of you," Blues captain David Backes said. "We learned a lesson that night. It taught us a full 60 minutes wins a hockey game.

"We've had pretty good efforts throughout that stretch of games where we haven't lost, but it's another 0-0 game at the start of this one against a team that works as hard as anyone, so we've got our work cut out for us."

A victory against the Flames would give the Blues their longest winning streak since a nine-game run from Oct. 15 to Nov. 5, 2002. The stretch has been necessary to keep pace in a tight Western Conference race.

"You have to [win] to keep up with those guys," Backes said. "It's a good push too, to try to mold your game and get better every day so that you're peaking at the right time and that's in the [Stanley Cup] Playoffs.

"We've got a group of guys in here that's committed to that sort of mentality. Every day seems to be another lesson, and we've learned a lot of lessons in wins and a couple tough ones in losses. It seems like those lessons are sinking in, so we don't have to repeat those trials and tribulations."

The Flames, though, are hoping to cause the Blues some headaches in rectifying their slump. Calgary has two wins in its past 10 games and has scored five goals since the win against the Blues. The Flames have been shut out in four of their past six games, including a 6-0 drubbing from the Phoenix Coyotes on Tuesday.

"We have good confidence in knowing we beat them not too long ago," Flames center Joe Colborne said. "I felt like Phoenix was just one of those games that whenever they got an opportunity, they capitalized on it. We definitely have a tough test [Thursday] and it would be huge for our confidence if we can come out with the two points."

Here are the projected lineups:


Mike Cammalleri - Mikael Backlund - Lee Stempniak

Paul Byron - Sean Monahan - Jiri Hudler

Lance Bouma - Matt Stajan - TJ Galiardi

Kevin Westgarth - Joe Colborne - Brian McGrattan

Mark Giordano - TJ Brodie

Ladislav Smid - Dennis Wideman

Chris Butler - Shane O'Brien

Karri Ramo

Reto Berra

Scratched: Derek Smith

Injured: David Jones (eye), Curtis Glencross (high ankle sprain), Kris Russell (MCL sprain), Blair Jones (meniscal tear)


Jaden Schwartz - David Backes - T.J. Oshie

Vladimir Sobotka - Patrik Berglund - Vladimir Tarasenko

Brenden Morrow - Derek Roy - Chris Stewart

Magnus Paajarvi - Maxim Lapierre - Ryan Reaves

Jay Bouwmeester - Alex Pietrangelo

Barret Jackman - Kevin Shattenkirk

Ian Cole - Jordan Leopold

Jaroslav Halak

Brian Elliott

Scratched: Adam Cracknell, Carlo Colaiacovo

Injured: Alexander Steen (concussion), Roman Polak (lower body)

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