NHL Hockey: St. Louis Blues at Calgary Flames – Flames Favored
Looking to avoid a third straight loss, the Flames try to sweep the season series from the Blues when the teams meet for the second time in seven days Monday at the Pengrowth Saddledome.
Calgary (36-22-10) has dropped two in a row after winning five consecutive games, but can further solidify its hold on a Western Conference playoff berth. With 82 points, the Flames have an eight-point lead over Colorado for the eighth and final postseason spot.
The Flames will be trying for a seventh straight win over the Blues (29-29-10), who are likely to miss the playoffs for the second straight season.
Calgary has outscored St. Louis 10-4 in three wins this season and has not lost to the Blues in regulation since Feb. 5, 2004. St. Louis won 3-2 in a shootout on Jan. 30, 2006 for its last victory over the Flames.
Calgary will be looking to bounce back from a 3-2 overtime loss to Tampa Bay on Saturday. The Lightning scored on a two-man advantage in the extra period after the Flames’ Daymond Langkow was penalized for hooking and Roman Hamrlik for high-sticking at the same time.
"When you get to overtime, you’ve got to be prepared to be disciplined," Flames coach Jim Playfair said. "Hooking and high-sticking – two stick penalties that cost us the game."
Craig Conroy registered his fifth point in three games with a goal that gave Calgary a 2-1 lead early in the third period, but the Flames could not hang on.
"When you are up 2-1 in the third period, you have to make sure you bury teams,” Calgary’s Alex Tanguay said. "We’ve been doing it for awhile now. The last couple of months we’ve been losing games in the third period. It’s going to be important for us down the stretch (to make sure) once we’re up, the game’s over."
Conroy recorded two goals and an assist in a 4-2 win over St. Louis on March 6. He has four points in three games against his former team this season and 28 points in 22 career contests against the Blues.
Jeff Friesen scored Calgary’s other goal Saturday, his second in as many games after going 10 straight without one.
Goaltender Miikka Kiprusoff has lost his last two starts after winning four in a row, but is 3-0-0 with a shutout and a 1.33 goals-against average against St. Louis this season.
If the Blues are to have any hope of making the playoffs, they’ll have to win on the road. St. Louis, 12-12-7 away from Scottrade Center, plays 10 of its final 14 on the road.
Despite rallying from a three-goal deficit, St. Louis fell 4-3 to Montreal at home Saturday.
The Canadiens’ Alexei Kovalev scored 43 seconds after the Blues’ Glen Metropolit tied it with a power-play goal with 2:08 left. It was Metropolit’s first goal in six games with the club since being acquired from Atlanta in the Keith Tkachuk deal.
"It’s tough losing like that, especially when the guys played the way they did," said St. Louis’ Jason Bacashihua, who replaced Curtis Sanford after Sanford allowed three goals on 10 shots.
St. Louis will be without defenseman Bryce Salvador for the remainder of the season after he suffered a fractured clavicle Saturday.
by: Gary Roberts – theSpread.com – Email Us
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