FLAMES (15-14-2) at BLUES (19-10-4)
TV: SNW, FS-MW
ST. LOUIS -- The St. Louis Blues are cognizant of what the Calgary Flames have done recently.
On Saturday, it will be the Blues' turn to try to halt the red-hot Flames, who were six games below .500 when they began a trek of what now is a seven-game winning streak.
Calgary (15-14-2) is 2-0 on a four-game trip that concludes Sunday at the Detroit Red Wings, but the Flames' immediate mission is to win against a St. Louis team (19-10-4) that has had its way with Calgary, winning five in a row against the Flames, outscoring them 21-5. The Blues also have beaten Calgary six straight times at Scottrade Center by a margin of 22-7.
But the Flames, who have jumped into third place in the Pacific Division, are a team the Blues know aren't the same ones they beat 4-3 in the third game of the season Oct. 13.
"They've got their 'A' game going again," Blues coach Ken Hitchcock said of the Flames. "You knew based on their skill and speed that it would come around, especially on the back end. They've got a lot of confidence in their game, they've got a lot of transition, a lot of ability to score off the rush. I think they're one of the best teams scoring off the rush in the League.
"We've had success against them not letting them out easy. I think that's been the difference in the series in the last couple years, anyway. They haven't got out clean, but we haven't played against the lineup that's in there [Saturday]. I was looking and there was four or five players' difference between what's playing there for Calgary now and what played there in Game 3 when we played in there. That's a lot of players. If we get our 'A' game and we get going, we can hem them in more than they want to be. If they get loose on us, it's going to be a tough night because they've got so many players with puck patience, especially up front."
It took a lot for the Flames, who have outscored their opponents 27-18 during their winning streak, to climb out of the basement of the Pacific. But they're not content with anything.
"We haven’t done anything yet," Flames forward David Jones told the team's website. "We just got back to .500 and we're one game above. That's not good enough for a playoff team. We've got a long way to go. We're getting there. We're having some better games and we're getting some results, finally. We just need to keep doing that.
"There’s a lot of hockey left and we can't be satisfied."
Here are the projected lines:
Johnny Gaudreau - Sean Monahan - David Jones
Sam Bennett - Markus Granlund - Jiri Hudler
Mason Raymond - Mikael Backlund - Josh Jooris
Michael Ferland - Matt Stajan - Joe Colborne
Mark Giordano - TJ Brodie
Kris Russell - Dougie Hamilton
Deryk Engelland - Dennis Wideman
Injured: Michael Frolik (upper body), Lance Bouma (broken fibula)
Scratched: Brandon Bollig, Ladislav Smid
Alexander Steen - Paul Stastny - Vladimir Tarasenko
Magnus Paajarvi - David Backes - Troy Brouwer
Robby Fabbri - Jori Lehtera - Dmitrij Jaskin
Scottie Upshall - Scott Gomez - Ryan Reaves
Jay Bouwmeester - Alex Pietrangelo
Petteri Lindbohm - Kevin Shattenkirk
Carl Gunnarsson - Colton Parayko
Injured: Jaden Schwartz (ankle), Patrik Berglund (shoulder), Steve Ott (hamstring), Kyle Brodziak (lower body)
Scratched: Robert Bortuzzo
Status report: Flames coach Bob Hartley said Frolik will not require surgery, but he will miss "weeks."... Gomez will play for the first time in seven games; he has been a healthy scratch the past six games and 10 of the past 12. He will replace Brodziak, who was cut by a skate Thursday and will miss his first game.
Who's hot: Gaudreau has 12 points (seven goals, five assists) and Sean Monahan has nine points (four goals, five assists) during the Flames' winning streak. Ramo has saved 56 of 58 shots in the first two games of a four-game trip. ... Shattenkirk (one goal, seven assists) and Backes (four goals, three assists) each carry six-game point streaks into the game. Steen has nine points (two goals, seven assists) the past seven games. Tarasenko has a goal in four straight games and six of the past seven.