After suffering a 4-3 overtime loss at Chicago on Sunday with a lackluster effort, the Calgary Flames will seek a bounce-back performance in St. Louis Tuesday night against the Blues.
Flames coach Darryl Sutter was unhappy with his team after it fell to the Blackhawks, who had won just three games since Nov. 12.
“Take one penalty, score two power-play goals and only give up a handful of shots — you should win the game,” Sutter said.
“We better be thankful we got a point considering a lot of our young players didn’t show up. Lack of preparation. We’ve got to take them by the hand, some of these young guys … Been in the league one to six years, some of them. Lack of preparation.”
Sutter pulled goaltender Jacob Markstrom midway through Sunday’s game in favor of Dan Vladar, so that was another area of concern for the Flames.
“Their goaltender was outplaying ours at that time,” Sutter said. “It was evident on the scoreboard and shot clock.”
The Flames come into this game with points in 14 of their last 18 games, with a 9-4-5 record during that span. The injury-depleted Blues have earned points in 11 of their last 14 games, with an 8-3-3 mark in that stretch.
St. Louis went 3-1 on their recent four-game road swing, but they lost defensemen Nick Leddy and Robert Bortuzzo to injuries along the way. Both are questionable for this game.
The Blues were already missing defensemen Torey Krug, Marco Scandella and Scott Perunovich, so AHL veterans Calle Rosen and Steven Santini and rookie Tyler Tucker have been filling in.
“Our veteran guys really stepped up and did a job back there,” Blues coach Craig Berube said after the Blues won 3-0 at Minnesota Sunday. “The young guys really did what they had to do for us to be successful.”
Tucker played four Blues games earlier this year before his latest call-up from the AHL.
“When he was up here, a highly competitive guy,” Berube said. “Simple with the puck. Better puck skills than I think he’s credited for — he makes pretty good plays with it. I thought he played well when he was up here. He did a good job in our own zone defending.”
The Blues are also featuring makeshift offensive lines with winger Vladimir Tarasenko and center Ryan O’Reilly sidelined with weeks-long injuries. Rookies Jake Neighbours and Nikita Alexandrov have been filling in and both made offensive contributions on the road trip.
“Obviously, every game I feel more confident and more comfortable,” Alexandrov told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. “Trying to keep playing my game and make more plays and all of that. And keep holding onto pucks and wear them down.”
While playing his first game since Dec. 20, Thomas Greiss earned his 16th career shutout. He could get another start in goal Tuesday, since the Blues host the Flames again on Thursday and Berube might want to give them different looks.
Greiss earned a 5-2 victory over the Flames with 41 saves when they met in Calgary on Dec. 16.
–Field Level Media