CALGARY, Alberta — The Calgary Flames will face a tough test against the St. Louis Blues on Monday night to wrap up their seven-game homestand at the Scotiabank Saddledome.
After dropping a 5-2 decision to the Blues (13-4-1) on Oct. 25 in St. Louis, the Flames (9-7-0) returned home and have won four of their past six games, including a 6-3 victory over the Detroit Red Wings on Thursday.
Since then, they’ve had three days off to prepare for the Blues, whose three-game winning streak ended Saturday with a 5-2 loss at home to the New York Islanders.
“It will be a big match for us considering what happened in St. Louis,” said Calgary coach Glen Gulutzan, who liked his team’s effort through two periods in St. Louis. “We didn’t like our third period in that game.”
While Gulutzan has been happy with his team’s 4-2 record during the lengthy homestand, he hasn’t been pleased with the number of quality scoring chances the Flames have given up.
“We feel that we’re one of the top teams creating chances, but we’re one of the bottom teams in giving them up right now,” Gulutzan said. “We don’t think, with the players that we have, that we should be in that situation.
“Five-on-five, we think we can be a lot tighter group. If we’re generating at the rate we are and we can be even 20 percent better (defensively), we think we can really get on a roll.”
After missing Calgary’s last three games with a lower-body injury, defenseman Travis Hamonic will be a game-day decision as to whether he plays against the Blues.
“I’m feeling good,” Hamonic said. “I feel like I’m back up to where my body feels it needs to be.”
While out of the lineup, Hamonic looked on from the press box as the Flames won two of three games and outscored their opponents 14-12.
“We’re scoring some goals now and the games have kind of opened up,” he said. “I think defensively now we want to try and reel it in as a group collectively. We don’t want to be giving up four and having to win games 5-4 or 6-4.”
After his team suffered just its second three-goal loss of the year, St. Louis coach Mike Yeo vowed that the Blues will bounce back with a better effort against the Flames.
“We’ll hit the ice for practice and get ready for a tough road trip here,” said Yeo, whose squad will also play the Edmonton Oilers on Thursday and the Vancouver Canucks on Saturday.
“We’re a team that presses and we’re a team that attacks, but we do it with control. I don’t think we had any control (against the Islanders).”
Although defenseman Jay Bouwmeester (ankle) and forward Patrik Berglund (shoulder) aren’t expected to play on the trip, both injured players accompanied the team out west.
Bouwmeester told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch that he doesn’t feel there’s a big rush for him to get back in the lineup.
“We’re in a position here (and) the team’s doing so good, there’s no pressure to force anything,” said the former Flames defenseman who fractured his ankle just three days into training camp during a scrimmage.