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Flames must contend with sizzling Steen, Blues

by Mike G. Morreale
FLAMES (6-7-2) at BLUES (9-2-2)


Last 10:
Calgary 3-7-0; St. Louis 6-2-2

Season series: The St. Louis Blues won two of the three games against the Calgary Flames in 2012-13, including a 4-1 victory in the series finale on April 25 at Scottrade Center. This is the first of three meetings this season. The teams will next meet at Scotiabank Saddledome in Calgary on Dec. 23.

Big story: Blues left wing Alexander Steen continued his torrid start when he connected for his 13th goal of the season in a 3-2 shootout win against the Montreal Canadiens on Tuesday. The 29-year-old Steen has points in eight straight games and leads the NHL in goals. Steen had a career-high 24 goals in 2009-10 and 51 points in 2010-11. The Blues have won four of their past five games.

Team Scope:

Calgary dropped a 5-1 decision to the Minnesota Wild on Tuesday. The Flames had no answer for the line of Zach Parise, Mikko Koivu and Charlie Coyle, which combined for seven points at Xcel Energy Center.

After rookie goalie Reto Berra earned an impressive 3-2 overtime victory against the defending Stanley Cup champion Chicago Blackhawks on Sunday, the 26-year-old allowed five goals on 24 shots against the Wild. Jiri Hudler opened the scoring 5:24 into the first to give the Flames a 1-0 edge. Wing Curtis Glencross sustained a lower-body injury in the second and didn't return.

Berra, who came to the Flames from the Blues late last season in the trade that sent defenseman Jay Bouwmeester, will start against his former organization on Thursday.

"We feel that with the day off today, it's a good spot to put him back," coach Bob Hartley said.

Blues: Goalie Jaroslav Halak stopped Tomas Plekanec's penalty shot with 48.9 seconds remaining in the third period and then denied Montreal's Alex Galchenyuk, Brendan Gallagher and Max Pacioretty in the shootout to help beat his former team at Bell Centre on Tuesday. He finished with 25 saves.

Halak, 28, was playing his second game in Montreal and his third against the Canadiens since being traded to the Blues in the summer of 2010. He led the Blues to a 4-1 win at home against the Canadiens on March 10, 2011, and shut out Montreal 3-0 at Bell Centre on Jan. 10, 2012, getting a standing ovation from the crowd after he was named the game's first star.

"It's always great to come back to the Bell Centre and play here," said Halak, who played for the Canadiens from 2006-10. "It's more fun when we win."

Who's hot: Hudler has two goals and seven points in the past eight games for the Flames. ... Blues captain David Backes has two goals and nine points in the past eight games.

Injury report: For the Flames, Glencross (lower body) is questionable and Christopher Breen (abdominal injury) and Lee Stempniak (broken foot) are both out indefinitely. Flames captain Mark Giordano (broken ankle) is out until early December. ... The Blues are without forwards Magnus Paajarvi (upper body) and Brenden Morrow (upper body).
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