Blues continue playoff pursuit against Flames

By Jeff Mezydlo
Stats Senior Writer

St. Louis (32-30-9) at Calgary (41-23-6) 9:00 p.m. EDT

CALGARY, Alberta (AP) — The St. Louis Blues’ performance on a
western Canadian road trip is not helping their chances of
reaching the postseason.

On Friday night, the Blues could be without star Keith Tkachuk
as they hope to salvage a win on the swing while looking to
avoid an eighth straight road loss to the Calgary Flames.

While Northwest Division-leading Calgary tries to maintain the
third spot in the Western Conference, St. Louis continues to
make a push for its first playoff appearance since 2003-04.

The Blues played themselves into the playoff picture by going
13-6-4 since the All-Star break before losing their first two
games on this trip. They opened with a 2-1 shootout loss at
Edmonton on Tuesday before falling 3-0 at Vancouver on Thursday.

“We have scratched and clawed and battled our way back into this
picture,” coach Andy Murray told the Blues’ official Web site.
“We’re going one game at a time.”

The latest setback, however, left St. Louis four points behind
Nashville for the eighth and final spot in the West. Adding to
the disappointment, the Blues could be without Tkachuk — third
on the team with 21 goals — for an undetermined amount of time
after he injured his wrist early in the third period.

“We’ve dealt with adversity all year and players in and out of
the lineup,” Murray said. “Obviously (Tkachuk) is a big part of
our team and whenever you lose a guy like that it hurts. But
we’re used to it and continued to play hard.”

That could make ending their losing streak to the Flames much
more difficult.

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St. Louis, which has been outscored 13-7 in three losses to the
Flames this season, is 0-5-1 since winning 3-0 over Calgary on
November 25, 2007. The Blues haven’t won at the Pengrowth
Saddledome since February 5, 2004.

Chris Mason made 18 saves in his 22nd start Thursday, and could
be back in net trying to snap a three-game losing streak to
Calgary. Mason is 18-20-6 with a 2.49 goals-against average in
2008-09, and 2-4-2 with a 3.61 GAA versus the Flames.

David Backes, who scored the Blues’ most recent goal, has two in
this last three games overall and two versus Calgary this

The Flames returned home from a 3-4-0 road trip and beat Dallas
2-1 on Wednesday. Light-scoring forwards Eric Nystrom and Jamie
Lundmark each had a goal and Miikka Kiprusoff made 18 saves for
his 200th victory.

Nystrom and Lundmark have combined for nine goals this season.
Lundmark, though, has five tallies and four assists in his last
11 games.

“We needed a game like that,” Nystrom told the Flames’ official
Web site. “We’ve given far too many chances, far too many goals.
The first line can’t score every goal. We need the depth guys to
step up.”

All-Star and captain Jarome Iginla, who was held scoreless
Wednesday after posting three points in an 8-6 loss at Toronto
on Saturday, has three goals and three assists versus St. Louis
this season.

With the win, Kiprusoff improved to 41-17-5 with a 2.85 GAA
after having given up 19 goals in his previous four starts. He
has dominated the Blues during his career, going 13-2-1 with a
2.29 GAA and 12 straight victories against them.