Calgary Flames versus St. Louis Blues
St. Louis, Missouri
The Flames started their five-game road off by tripping over their own skates and dropping a 4-3 OT decision in Chicago on Sunday, and the poor start continued by blowing a two-goal lead for another 4-3 OT loss on Tuesday against the Blues. The teams will rematch tonight, with the desperate Flames needing to hold off the Blues in the standings. This is Calgary’s second two-game road series after they had two stops in San Jose back in December. Despite some struggles this year, the Blues have now won four of their last five.
We start in the crease for tonight’s lineups, where we’ll get a swap for tonight’s rematch:
Per Pat Steinberg of Sportsnet 960:
Vladar will be making his first start of 2023, after Jacob Markstrom made five straight appearances in the starting lineup. In his last appearance, Vladar stopped 29 shots against the Kraken for a 3-2 win. He came in relief of Markstrom on Sunday against Chicago and was charged with that OTL. Vladar packs a 2.76 GAA alongside a .906 Save Percentage with his overall 6-4-4 record.
In other recent roster news, Dennis Gilbert and Radim Zohorna were sent back down to the AHL as of December 29th, but Zohorna was recalled one day later on December 30th. Other Wranglers making the trip down the hallway are Walker Duehr and Jakob Pelletier who were recalled on January 7th. This leaves the active roster at 23 for the time being.
Duehr skated on the fourth line at Monday practice and made his season debut January 10th. He is 6’2” weighing 210 pounds and has 10 goals and 6 assists in 31 AHL games this season alongside 20 PIMs. He was on-pace to break a previous AHL career high of 23 points in 59 games. He has played one game on the Flames side previously, back in the 2021-22 campaign.
- Brett Ritchie exited the New Year’s Eve game against Vancouver with what appeared to be a wrist injury. He saw a specialist for it on January 3rd and has been placed on retroactive Injured Reserve as of January 8th. The retroactive placement sees him technically eligible to return anytime now, it’s just dependent on the functionality and severity of the injury.
- D-Man Chris Tanev had missed four games since suffering a head injury against Montreal on December 12th. He made his return December 20th and skated on the second pair with Mackenzie Weegar and looks to remain there for the time being.
- Defender Oliver Kylington remains away on personal leave.
- The Flames have recalled forward Radim Zohorna from the AHL Wranglers as of December 30th after sending him down on December 23rd, just before the Christmas break. Forward Matthew Phillips and defenseman Nick DeSimone have gone the other way. Walker Duehr and Jakob Pelletier were both called up from the Wranglers on January 7th.
- Dennis Gilbert has been up and down like a roller coaster. The defender was sent back down to the Wranglers as of November 27th and recalled on December 18th, and spent a stint on IR before being recalled December 28th, then sent down again the next day.
- After being a highly published healthy scratch for three games this season, Milan Lucic will remain in the lineup and in the top six. Connor Mackey, Radim Zohorna and Jakob Pelletier will be tonight’s healthy scratches.
- In the forward groupings, Adam Ruzicka doesn’t look to be headed back to the top line anytime soon after an earlier hot streak. Over the prior twenty-one games he has two goals and twelve points and has been held off the scoresheet in six straight contests.
- Jonathan Huberdeau will stay in the top six but remain on the second line since being swapped with Dillon Dube. Huberdeau is hopefully rounding into form after tacking on nineteen points in his last twenty-two games. His best performance was three assists against the Sharks on December 20th. He also scored the big GWG against the Kraken on December 28th, and chipped in a goal in the Chicago overtime loss.
Barring any major changes when lineups are submitted, they are projected as follows:
FORWARD 1: Dube-Lindholm-Toffoli
FORWARD 2: Lucic-Kadri-Huberdeau
FORWARD 3: Mangiapane-Backlund-Coleman
FORWARD 4: Lewis-Ruzicka-Duehr
GOALTENDERS: Vladar (starter), MArkstrom (backup)