NHL Odds: Blues host fading Flames

By: Barry Daniels | Thursday, March 31, 2011

Calgary is 19-7 in the last 26 series meetings against the Blues.

One more loss could serve as the final gust of wind to douse the Flames’ flickering playoff hopes. Calgary will try to avoid that fate Friday when it travels to St. Louis to play a Blues team that is coming off Wednesday’s 10-goal performance. The puck drops at 5 p.m. (PT).

Calgary’s postseason hopes took another hit Wednesday when the club dropped a 4-2 decision against Anaheim as a 125 home favorite.The loss left the Flames with 87 points, three points behind Chicago for the Western Conference’s eighth and final playoff spot. The Blackhawks have also played three fewer games than the Flames.

The combined six goals slithered above the 5 ½-goal closing total, leaving the ‘over’ 7-1 in Calgary’s last eight games and 42-32-2 overall.

Jarome Iginla scored his 37th goal in a losing effort, while Matt Stajan had a potential tying goal disallowed with just over five minutes remaining in the third period.

Mikka Kiprusoff stopped 18-of-21 shots and saw his record slip to 34-24-2-4. Kiprusoff, who has now allowed 10 first-period goals in his last five starts, has a 2.69 GAA, a .904 save percentage and six shutouts.

The Flames have now allowed three goals or more in eight of their last 10 contests and four goals or more in six of their last eight. The barrage has lowered Calgary to 19th defensively, allowing an average of 2.9 GPG.

St. Louis is just playing out the string this season, but a loose club is very dangerous to one that has playoff aspirations. Just ask the Detroit Red Wings.

The Blues are off Wednesday’s 10-3 shelling of the Wings as hefty 205 road underdogs. The combined 13 goals soared above the 5 ½-goal closing total. The ‘over’ is 10-4 in the Blues’ last 14 home dates.

Vladimir Sobotka and Chris Stewart collected a goal and two assists apiece for a Blues team that is 3-0-1 in its last four games. B.J. Crombeen, Cam Janssen, Roman Polak, Patrik Berglund and Matt D’Agostini added a goal and an assist apiece. St. Louis received at least one point from 15 players.

Jaroslav Halak made 41 saves for the win to raise his ledger to 24-20-3-4. The former Montreal netminder has a 2.57 GAA, a .908 save percentage and six shutouts.

Calgary is 19-7 in the last 26 series meetings against the Blues, including winning all three matchups this season.

The first meeting this season (Jan. 26) saw the Flames register a 4-1 victory as 125 home favorites, with the combined five goals dipping ‘under’ the 5 ½-goal closing total.

A little more than one month later (Feb. 27), the Flames blanked the Blues 1-0 as 150 home favorites, with the game again staying ‘under’ the 5 ½-goal total.

The most recent meeting (March 1) saw the Flames again blank the Blues, but this time it was a 6-0 shellacking as a 105 road underdog. This was the lone game to go ‘over’ the 5 ½-goal closing total.

The Blues have outshot the Flames during the three contests, 81-69, but have not scored a power play goal in seven opportunities. Conversely, the Flames are 4-for-11 with the man advantage in the three meetings.

St. Louis hits the road Sunday for a contest against the Columbus Blue Jackets. Calgary travels to Colorado for a Sunday encounter with the Avs.

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