Monday, October 10, 2011

(10-10-11) Flames-Blues Gameday Lineup

ST. LOUIS -- After giving up two power play goals and scoring only one themselves, the Blues will focus today on reversing those numbers when they host the Calgary Flames.

The Blues (0-1-0) and Flames (0-1-0) will be searching for their respective first wins of the season when they clash in a Columbus Day Monday matinee at 1 p.m. (FSN, KMOX 1120-AM) at Scottrade Center.

The Blues are coming off a season-opening 4-2 home loss to the Nashville Predators in which they lost the special teams battle, only converting 1 of 5 power play chances (Jason Arnott scored in the third period).

"We had some execution issues, mostly on our breakouts, some timing issues," Blues coach Davis Payne said after practice Sunday. "Then it started getting into (Nashville) out-battling us for loose pucks. ... In the end, we got a key power play goal. It was a tying goal. You'd like your power play to find a way. It did. It wasn't as good as it could have been, but it did find a way to get one.

"We'd like our PK to be much sharper than a two-for-against as well. We knew this was an area that has to get better."

Center David Backes said the Predators kept the Blues to the perimeter.

"They play a tight penalty kill where they're not letting you in the interior a lot," Backes said, "so we need to resort to shots in traffic and bodies in front banging home rebounds. That's how we scored the power play goal with Jason Arnott."

- - -

The early start today is a rarity in the league, but for a couple Blues, it takes them back to yesteryear.

"It's like the old junior days," forward Chris Stewart said. "We'd play two on the road and come back on a Sunday for a three-in-three and a 2 o'clock start. It should be fun.

"I'm old school. I'm probably still going to go chicken and pasta at 9 in the morning and I'll be ready to go."

Said defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk, "I'm not a big fan of them. For me as far as preparation goes, it throws me off a little bit.

"It reminds me of getting back to when you were a kid playing three games a day," he said. "It'll be good though. Obviously Calgary's a very hard-working team. It's going to be quite a battle."

- - -

The Blues could make a couple lineup changes today. With defenseman Carlo Colaiacovo a game time decision, expect Kent Huskins to make his Blues debut. If Colaiacovo is able to go, there's also the chance Huskins could replace Nikita Nikitin in the lineup, despite Payne liking Nikitin's game against the Predators.

Also, Payne said that either Chris Porter or Evgeny Grachev could make their season debuts today. Enforcer Ryan Reaves, who ignited the sellout crowd Saturday with a fight against Nashville's Zack Stortini, only had 3 minutes 9 seconds of ice time.

"We'll talk about that here this afternoon," Payne said Sunday. "We'll take a look at Calgary's lineup and what kind of game we expect. Reaver didn't play a lot of minutes but obviously did his job in the one area. A good scrap there against Stortini."

So here are two versions depending on which defensemen play.

(Without Colaiacovo):

Andy McDonald-David Backes-Jamie Langenbrunner

T.J. Oshie-Patrik Berglund-Chris Stewart

Alex Steen-Jason Arnott-Matt D'Agostini

Vladimir Sobotka-Scott Nichol-Ryan Reaves/Chris Porter/Evgeny Grachev

Barret Jackman-Kevin Shattenkirk

Kent Huskins-Alex Pietrangelo

Nikita Nikitin-Roman Polak

Jaroslav Halak, who made 12 saves in the loss to Nashville, is expected to get the nod in goal. Halak is 1-4-0 with a 3.02 goals-against average and .905 save percentage in five career games against the Flames.

David Perron (post-concussion symptoms) and B.J. Crombeen (fractured shoulder) are on injured reserve.

(With Colaiacovo):

Carlo Colaiacovo-Alex Pietrangelo

Barret Jackman-Kevin Shattenkirk

Kent Huskins-Roman Polak

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The Flames, who dropped their season- and home-opener to the Pittsburgh Penguins, swept the season series from the Blues last year, going 4-0.

The Flames are expected to go with the lineup they used Saturday, including St. Louis native Chris Butler:

Alex Tanguay-David Moss-Jarome Iginla

Curtis Glencross-Olli Jokinen-Lee Stempniak

Niklas Hagman-Roman Horak-Rene Bourque

Tom Kostopoulos-Matt Stajan-Tim Jackman

Jay Bouwmeester-Chris Butler

Mark Giordano-Scott Hannan

Anton Banchuk-Cory Sarich

Miikka Kiprusoff, who stopped 32 shots in Saturday's loss to the Penguins, is expected to get the start in goal. Kiprusoff, who was in goal for all four wins against the Blues last season, is 19-5-2 with a 1.94 GAA and .926 save percentage in 27 career games against St. Louis.

Forwards Brendan Morrison (knee), Mikael Backlund (broken finger), Brett Carson (back) and Raitis Ivanans (concussion) are all on injured reserve. Pierre-Luc Letourneau-Leblond (suspension) will also be out of action. Defensemen Brendan Mikkelson and Derek Smith were healthy scratches.

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