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Blues try to continue surge in standings vs. Flames

by Brian Hunter
FLAMES (8-11-1) at BLUES (11-8-2)


Last 10:
Calgary 4-6-0; St. Louis 6-2-2

Season Series: Third of four meetings this season, with the home team winning both prior matchups. Alex Pietrangelo had the decisive goal and added an assist in the Blues' 5-2 win on Oct. 10, while Miikka Kiprusoff turned in a 28-save performance to lead the Flames to a 3-1 victory on Oct. 28.

Big Story: St. Louis continues to surge up the Central Division and Western Conference standings under new coach Ken Hitchcock, beginning play Friday just one point behind Detroit for second in the division and sixth in the conference.

Team Scope:

Flames: This is the third stop on a four-game road trip for Calgary, which has been outscored 9-4 in losses to Columbus and Detroit. Jarome Iginla and Brendan Morrison rallied the Flames from a 1-0 deficit to a 2-1 lead against the Red Wings on Wednesday by scoring 2:12 apart early in the second period, and after the Wings went back ahead 3-2 the Flames got the tying power-play goal from Olli Jokinen at 5:06 of the third. But a 5-on-3 disadvantage led to a pair of Detroit goals 74 seconds apart later in the period, spelling a 5-3 defeat for the visitors.

"You can't give these guys a two-man power-play with 8 minutes to go," Iginla said. "Up to then it had been a good road game for us."

Blues: One night after Los Angeles became the first team to score as many as three goals and defeat St. Louis in regulation under Hitchcock, the Blues bounced back in a major way Wednesday by defeating the Eastern Conference-leading Penguins 3-2 in overtime. Pietrangelo did the honors, ending Pittsburgh's six-game winning streak by scoring with 57 seconds remaining in the extra period. Scott Nichol and Jamie Langenbrunner also tallied, Brian Elliott made 31 saves and the Blues held Sidney Crosby without a point in his second game back from a concussion.

"We tried to play him tough all night," Pietrangelo said. "I thought we did a pretty good job. I mean he's going to get chances, he's a good player, so to keep him off the score sheet, it's a good feeling."

Who's Hot: Alex Tanguay has an assist in three straight games for the Flames. … Elliott improved to 8-1-0 after the Blues beat the Penguins, and kept alive his run of not allowing more than two goals in a game this season.

Injury Report: Calgary has defensemen Brett Carson (back) and Anton Babchuk (hand) and forward David Moss (foot) on injured reserve. … St. Louis has defensemen Kent Huskins (ankle) and Carlo Colaiacovo (lower body) and forwards B.J. Crombeen (broken scapula) and Andy McDonald (concussion) on injured reserve. Forward David Perron has not been activated yet, but was cleared for contact as his post-concussion symptoms have resided.

Stat Pack: The Flames are one of only two teams not to have been involved in a shootout yet this season. The Red Wings are the other. … Alexander Steen leads the Blues with 8 goals and has one in each of their first two meetings against the Flames this season.

Puck Drop: Perron, whose last game was over a year ago (Nov. 4, 2010), was paying close attention to Crosby's comeback and called his 2-goal, 4-point performance in his season debut against the Islanders on Monday "crazy" and "simply amazing" in an interview with the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Just like Crosby took his time, Perron won't rush any steps in making his own return to the ice.

"There's no date," Perron told the newspaper. "It's just a matter of getting into practices and seeing how I react. It's only been like four or five days (since he was cleared for contact) and I haven't done a whole lot of it. We have a lot of games right now and a lot of optional skates and when it's optional, it's more about shooting and conditioning, so we haven't gotten a lot of (physicality) yet.

"But I feel pretty good out there, so as long as I keep going, I'll keep progressing. It's tough for me to put a date on it before I go through the whole process. This is where I'm at right now. It's been awhile and I'm itching to play, but at the same time, I want to make sure that I'm doing it the right way."

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