Quick-starting Blues ready to host Flames

BY foxsports • October 25, 2016

ST. LOUIS -- Two of the players who played key roles in leading the St. Louis Blues to the Western Conference final last year will be back in town Tuesday night with the Calgary Flames.

Right winger Troy Brouwer, who was second on the team with eight goals in the playoffs last year, signed with the Flames as a free agent over the summer. Goalie Brian Elliott was traded to the Flames during the NHL draft.

Brouwer will definitely be in the lineup for the Flames, but Elliott's status is not as clear cut. He had to go seven rounds deep into a shootout Monday night to help the Flames earn only their second win of the season, 3-2 over the Blackhawks in Chicago -- his first victory with his new team.

Elliott did not play when the two teams met last Saturday in Chicago, as Chad Johnson started in goal. After Tuesday night, the Flames will not play again in St. Louis until March 25.

The shootout win came after the Flames were only 1-4-1 to start the season, allowing a league-high 27 goals.

Elliott made several key saves in the third period and overtime, and then stopped all seven attempts by the Blackhawks in the shootout.

The Flames' two goals in regulation both came on the power play after they had scored on only one of 25 power-play attempts in their first six games.

"We need to have confidence in ourselves," Brouwer told the Calgary Sun. "It's been a little bit of a rocky start and it's obviously not where we want to be and we're playing some tough teams, but we need to have confidence in ourselves, knowing that we're a real good hockey team."

The Blues have not played since their 6-4 win Saturday night in Calgary, which featured the third career hat trick for left winger David Perron. He was part of a new line combination that included Jaden Schwartz at center and Vladimir Tarasenko on right wing.

An injury to center Jori Lehtera and the return of Schwartz from an elbow injury prompted the Blues to juggle their top forward lines, and they elected to move Schwartz to center so Alexander Steen could stay on right wing, with Robby Fabbri on left wing and Paul Stastny at center.

"That line (Perron, Schwartz and Tarasenko) obviously had some great chemistry for the first time," said Blues coach Ken Hitchcock. "Jaden hasn't played center ice for a little while. That's the first time that line was together and they showed great chemistry great cohesion on the ice. It was great to see."

Lehtera, on injured reserve, skated on his own on Monday and the Blues said his status would be re-evaluated on Tuesday. He missed all three games in western Canada last week because of an upper-body injury.

Left winger Dmitrij Jaskin did not practice Monday because of a lower-body injury, but Hitchcock said he still is a possibility to play on Tuesday night.

Carter Hutton will get the start in goal for the Blues. He earned a 3-2 win over the New York Rangers in his only start this season, on Oct. 15, stopping 33 of 35 shots, including all 15 in the third period when the Rangers out-shot the Blues 15-0.

The Blues have opened the season with a 4-1-1 record, and their special team units have played a major role in that quick start. They have six power-play goals in their first six games, and their penalty-kill unit has allowed only one goal in 20 opportunities. They enter the game against the Flames having killed off their opponent's last 19 consecutive chances.

"I don't want to talk about it," Hitchcock said Monday. "I'm not talking about it."

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