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Preview: Blues at Flames

Calgary goalie Brian Elliott won't start St. Louis, former team

by Aaron Vickers / Correspondent

BLUES (3-1-1) at FLAMES (1-3-1)

10 p.m. ET; SN360, SN1, FS-MW, NHL.TV


Blues team scope

Defenseman Carl Gunnarsson will return to the lineup for the St. Louis Blues after missing the past two games because of an upper-body injury. "[Gunnarsson] is a good player," coach Ken Hitchcock said. "We've got to have him in. If he's healthy, he's got to be a guy we consider playing every night. He had a good start to the year but then got hurt when he got in. The two games he played, he played very, very well." Hitchcock is expected to shake up his forward lines, playing Robby Fabbri with Paul Stastny and Alexander Steen, and moving Jaden Schwartz to center with David Perron and Vladimir Tarasenko. "Both [Schwartz] and Perron will take faceoffs," Hitchcock said. "One on the left and one on the right. We had a very good line in Stasty, Steen and Fabbri where they were excellent. We want to get back to that. We understand injuries and injuries happen to us like they do every other team, but we broke up a contributing line to fill holes elsewhere and we're just going to have to figure it out until a guy like (Jori) Lehtera comes back." Jake Allen, who has a 1.99 goals-against average and .909 save percentage, will be in net. He has started four of five games for St. Louis this season. "Things are going well so far," Allen said. "It's a pretty exciting opportunity for me."

Flames team scope

Goaltender Chad Johnson will start for the Calgary Flames. Brian Elliott, who was acquired from St. Louis on June 24, is expected to backup. He went 104-46-16 with a 2.01 goals against average and a .925 save percentage in five seasons with the Blues. "We're not in the business of making decisions based on where a guy's from or what he does," Flames coach Glen Gulutzan said. "We're going to make a decision that's best for our group. We all talked about it. We all talked about it with our goalies. Nothing was swept under the carpet. It was right out in front. We're all on the same page." Johnson is 1-0-1 with a 1.89 goals against average and .923 save percentage this season. Elliott is 0-3-0 with a 4.72 goals against average and .839 save percentage. "You can't get hung up on things," Elliott said. "Your highs can't be too high and your lows can't be too low. You have to keep an even-keel. I feel I am spitting a lot of common lines here but it's the god's honest truth." Forward Matthew Tkachuk, the No. 6 pick in the 2016 NHL Draft, is expected to be a healthy scratch. Tkachuk's father, Keith Tkachuk, spent parts of nine seasons with St. Louis. "Like any of these young guys, this is a hard league and it's good sometimes for them to sit back and look and watch the game and come back in and even be better," Gulutzan said. "We've thought he's been good, but it's part of the process." Tkachuk has one goal in five games this season.

Blues projected lineup

Robby Fabbri -- Paul Stastny -- Alexander Steen

David Perron -- Jaden Schwartz -- Vladimir Tarasenko

Dmitrij Jaskin -- Patrik Berglund -- Nail Yakupov

Scottie Upshall -- Kyle Brodziak -- Ryan Reaves

Jay Bouwmeester -- Alex Pietrangelo

Carl Gunnarsson -- Kevin Shattenkirk

Joel Edmundson -- Colton Parayko

Jake Allen

Carter Hutton

Scratched: Ty Rattie, Magnus Paajarvi, Robert Bortuzzo

Injured: Jori Lehtera (upper body)

Flames projected lineup

Johnny Gaudreau -- Sean Monahan -- Michael Frolik

Kris Versteeg -- Sam Bennett -- Troy Brouwer

Lance Bouma -- Mikael Backlund -- Alex Chiasson

Micheal Ferland -- Matt Stajan -- Freddie Hamilton

Mark Giordano -- Dennis Wideman

TJ Brodie -- Dougie Hamilton

Jyrki Jokipakka -- Deryk Engelland

Chad Johnson

Brian Elliott

Scratched: Brett Kulak, Nicklas Grossmann, Matthew Tkachuk

Injured: Ladislav Smid (neck)


Status report

Bortuzzo will be a scratch with Gunnarsson returning to the lineup. …Freddie Hamilton will make his season debut in place of Tkachuk. Wideman, who was a healthy scratch the past three games, will draw into the lineup in place of Kulak.


Who's hot

Tarasenko has four goals and six points in five games. ... Steen has one goal and four assists in five games…Backlund has four assists in five games. Brouwer and Frolik each have three goals.

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