FLAMES (19-23-4) at BLUES (27-17-2)
TV: FS-MW, SNET-W
Last 10: Calgary 6-4-0; St. Louis 7-3-0
Season series: This is the third and final meeting this season between these teams and the first contest to take place in St. Louis. The Blues and Flames split the previous two meetings, with Calgary winning 3-2 on March 24 and St. Louis earning a 5-2 victory on Feb. 15.
Big story: These teams find themselves in very opposite positions with two games remaining on their respective schedules. Calgary is playing out a difficult season while St. Louis has already clinched a Stanley Cup Playoff berth. But while the Blues are jockeying for a favorable playoff position and the Flames are giving a long look at their young prospects, both teams have remained motivated and are playing strong hockey as the regular season comes to a close.
Flames: They may have been out of playoff contention for some time and traded away several of their most talented veterans, but the Flames are also playing some of their best hockey of the season. They were enjoying a 5-1-0 stretch when they came to Nashville to battle the Predators in the second contest of a season-ending four-game road trip on Tuesday.
TJ Brodie opened the scoring with a pretty snap shot that eluded Pekka Rinne while the teams played four-on-four. David Legwand tied the game late in the first, but Roman Cervenka continued his hot play of late by giving Calgary a 2-1 lead midway through the second period. With Mark Cundari off for hooking, the Predators again tied the game on Nick Spaling's power-play goal with just 89 seconds remaining in the middle frame.
Despite showing their mettle in the first two periods, the Flames lost their grasp on the contest in the third. Austin Watson and Matt Halischuk scored 83 seconds apart and the Predators outshot Calgary 11-3 in the frame. Roman Cervenka cut the Nashville lead to 4-3 with 4:50 remaining in regulation, but by then it was too late.
Blues: With a six-game win streak to open the month of April, the Blues may be hitting their stride at just the right time. They suffered consecutive losses to the Columbus Blue Jackets and Chicago Blackhawks but have since gone 4-1-0 and punched their ticket to the postseason.
Their playoff-clinching performance came Tuesday night at Scottrade Center against the Colorado Avalanche. Chris Stewart opened the scoring on the power-play, notching his team-leading 18th of the season midway through the first period. Patrik Berglund and Andy McDonald scored 2:18 apart early in the second to give the Blues a comfortable lead after outshooting Colorado 27-11 through the first 40 minutes.
Cody McLeod replied for Colorado late in the middle period, but the Blues were able to clamp down in the third and clinch a playoff berth for the second straight season.
"I think it's always better to control your own destiny," Stewart said. "You never want to get in on someone else's account. I think it feels better when you control your own fate, and that's what we did tonight."
Who's hot: Cervenka has three goals in his past two games for Calgary while Sven Baertschi has eight points in his current six-game point streak. Cundari, who made his NHL debut Sunday against the Minnesota Wild, has three points in his first two NHL games. … For St. Louis, Stewart has two goals and three points in his past three games while Brian Elliott has allowed one goal or fewer in seven of his last nine starts.
Injury report: The Flames are without forwards Paul Byron (hand), Alex Tanguay (knee), Steve Begin (hand) and Curtis Glencross (knee) along with defensemen Cory Sarich (nose), Derek Smith (lower body) and Dennis Wideman (finger). … Goaltender Jaroslav Halak is expected to remain out for St. Louis with a lower-body injury while forwards T.J. Oshie (foot surgery), Jamie Langenbrunner (hip) and Scott Nichol (lower body) are out.