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Preview: Flames at Blues

Calgary looks to gain ground in Pacific; St. Louis aims to solidify possession of third place in Central

by Louie Korac / Correspondent

FLAMES (41-29-4) at BLUES (40-28-5)

7 p.m. ET; CITY, FS-MW, NHL.TV


Flames team scope

The Calgary Flames are three points behind the Edmonton Oilers for third place in the Pacific Division, five points behind the San Jose Sharks and Anaheim Ducks for the Pacific lead, and one point ahead of the Nashville Predators for the first wild card into the Stanley Cup Playoffs from the Western Conference. Calgary is 12-3-0 in its past 15 games but has lost two straight for the first time since they a four-game losing streak Jan. 19-24. The Flames will get Matthew Tkachuk back in the lineup after the rookie forward was suspended the past two games for a hit on Los Angeles Kings defenseman Drew Doughty last Sunday. "It's a fine line," Tkachuk said. "It's tough when you're just watching your team, especially when we didn't get the outcome we wanted the past two games. I'm moving forward, I'm back in now and I'm just going to try and make a difference." Tkachuk will rejoin linemates Mikael Backlund and Michael Frolik. "It's a good addition for us," coach Glen Gulutzan said. "To get those guys back, they play so well together. They have great chemistry." Goalie Brian Elliott, who played for the St. Louis Blues from 2011-16, will start. 


Blues team scope

The Blues will look to maintain their hold on third place in the Central Division; they are tied with the Nashville Predators in points but have four more regulation/overtime wins. The Predators host the San Jose Sharks on Saturday. The Blues, who have won four in a row, are 9-1-0 in their past 10 and 16-7-0 since Mike Yeo took over for Ken Hitchcock as coach Feb. 1. The Blues have allowed 14 goals in their past 10 games. "I didn't even know that was kind of the number, but that's pretty good," defenseman Jay Bouwmeester said. "Obviously goaltending's No. 1. They've been playing great. Even [Thursday] night at the start of the game, [Jake Allen] kind of made some big saves and kept us in it for a little bit. We were a little slow starting, but I think there's been a focus for the past 20-25 games just to tighten that part up. Early in the year, we were just giving up so much. People were blaming the goalies or whatever, but we were giving up a lot of pretty quality chances. It makes their life pretty difficult." Allen, 7-1-0 with 10 goals allowed and two shutouts in his past eight starts, will face former teammate Elliott for the first time. "It will be fun to play against [Elliott]," Allen said. "He's a great goalie, but points are crucial for both teams right now."


Flames projected lineup

Johnny Gaudreau -- Sean Monahan -- Micheal Ferland

Matthew Tkachuk -- Mikael Backlund -- Michael Frolik

Lance Bouma -- Sam Bennett -- Alex Chiasson

Kris Versteeg -- Matt Stajan -- Troy Brouwer

Mark Giordano -- Dougie Hamilton

TJ Brodie -- Michael Stone

Matt Bartkowski -- Deryk Engelland

Brian Elliott

Chad Johnson

Scratched: Dennis Wideman, Freddie Hamilton, Curtis Lazar, Rasmus Andersson

Injured: Ladislav Smid (neck)


Blues projected lineup

Jaden Schwartz -- Alexander Steen -- Vladimir Tarasenko

Magnus Paajarvi -- Patrik Berglund -- David Perron

Zach Sanford -- Ivan Barbashev -- Nail Yakupov

Scottie Upshall -- Kyle Brodziak -- Ryan Reaves

Jay Bouwmeester -- Alex Pietrangelo

Joel Edmundson -- Colton Parayko

Carl Gunnarsson -- Robert Bortuzzo

Jake Allen

Carter Hutton

Scratched: Jordan Schmaltz

Injured: Paul Stastny (lower body), Robby Fabbri (knee), Jori Lehtera (upper body), Dmitrij Jaskin (upper body)


Status report

With Tkachuk returning, forward Freddie Hamilton goes back to being a healthy scratch. ... Saturday is the first matchup between Elliott and Allen because Elliott didn't face the Blues in Calgary on Oct. 22 and Allen wasn't in goal for the Blues for the return matchup in St. Louis on Oct. 25.


Who's hot

Gaudreau has 11 points (three goals, eight assists) in his past nine games. ... Monahan has 10 points (four goals, six assists) in his past 10 games. ... Elliott is 12-1-1 his past 14 starts. ... Tarasenko has nine points (six goals, three assists) in his past nine games. … Pietrangelo has six points (two goals, four assists) in his past six games.

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