Blues aim to break goal drought vs. Flames
Thursday, 11.05.2009 / 6:30 PM
FLAMES (8-4-1) at BLUES (5-6-1)
|Lars Eller will make his NHL debut tonight against Calgary (Getty Images).
-- Flames 5-4-1; Blues 3-6-1
-- It's the first meeting of the season between the Western Conference rivals. The Flames won the first three games between the teams last season before the Blues took the last one in Calgary on March 20. The Flames have won seven of the last eight against the Blues.
-- Calgary coach Brent Sutter called out captain Jarome Iginla after Saturday's 3-1 home loss to Detroit -- and Iginla responded big-time at Dallas on Wednesday by scoring twice, including the overtime winner, in a 3-2 victory.
"Certainly Jarome's game was good, and not just because he scored two goals," Sutter said. "He's a big, strong guy that gets in there in areas where he's hard to retain."
The Blues have struggled at home, losing five of their six games at the Scottrade Center. They're coming off a 4-0 home loss to Florida on Saturday.
-- Curtis McElhinney played only his second game of the season on Wednesday because starter Miikka Kiprusoff was battling flu-like symptoms. He did everything that could have been expected, stopping 38 of 40 shots, including a penalty shot. Whether that's enough to get him back-to-back starts will depend on Kiprusoff's health, but his performance against Dallas should earn him more playing time down the road -- and reassure Sutter that there's a viable backup who can step in and give Kiprusoff a night off.
"He hasn't played in a while, and he stood tall tonight and he was rewarded for it," Sutter said. "He had a great effort."
-- St. Louis has gone more than 123 minutes without scoring a goal and is only 3-6-1 after opening with two victories over Detroit in Stockholm. They come in off consecutive home shutout losses to Phoenix and Florida, followed by a four-day break.
"When you're struggling to score like we are at this time, you've got to be so solid defensively," Blues coach Andy Murray said after. "Unfortunately, we weren't."
-- Iginla's three-point night (2 goals, 1 assist) was his best performance of the season.
-- Kiprusoff sat out against Dallas due to an illness. … Blues defenseman Barrett Jackman, out since Oct. 8 with an ankle injury, is skating but doubtful. Defenseman Carlo Colaiacovo
(flu) and forward T.J. Oshie
(appendectomy) should return. Center Andy McDonald
, who crashed headfirst into the boards last Saturday, is skating and could be a game-time decision.
-- Calgary defenseman Jay Bouwmeester will be playing his 356th consecutive game, the longest active streak of any player. He's second in the NHL in average ice time at 26:56, trailing only Philadelphia's Chris Pronger (27:11).
-- The Blues definitely needed the four-day break to get some players healthy and work on ways to get the puck to the net. They came from out of nowhere to make the playoffs last season, but can't expect to spot the rest of the conference a big lead and do it again.