CALGARY, AB -- Perhaps the surprise of the Western Conference a year ago after winning the Central Division, the St. Louis Blues have struggled at times to live up to the expectations of a powerhouse this season.
Still, the Blues are one of the West's most dangerous teams and come into Sunday's game against the Calgary Flames with four wins in their past five games. Over that span, St. Louis has allowed just six goals - including a shutout on Saturday night against the Edmonton Oileres - in returning to their stingy ways that saw them allow a league-low 165 goals a year ago.
Though struggling on the road of late, the Flames boast a six-game winning streak at the Scotiabank Saddledome, a streak they'll put to the test against the visiting Blues.
Sunday's contest marks the second of three meetings between the Blues and the Flames. The two clubs first squared off on February 15th in Calgary with St. Louis trumping the Flames 5-2, paced by goals from Jaden Schwartz and Patrik Berglund in the opening minutes of the game to chase Leland Irving early.
Currently one of the league's hottest goal scorers in the past two weeks after finding the back of the net six times in his previous five games, Stewart now has team lead in goals with 15. The 25-year-old acquired alongside Kevin Shattenkirk in the deal that sent former first overall pick Erik Johnson to the Colorado Avalanche also holds a decisive lead in team points with 29 in 30 games played this season.
Though he's played just two games since coming off the injured reserve list after missing 10 with a left knee injury suffered in practice nearly a month ago, McDonald has just one assist in his last five outings. He last scored on February 17th against the Vancouver Canucks, one of just three goals for the 35-year-old this year. After nearly averaging a point-per-game in an injury-shortened season a year ago, McDonald has just 11 points in 20 games this season.
THREE PLAYERS TO WATCH
Second on the team in goal-scoring with 14 this year, Berglund would be on pace for 40 goals over an 82-game schedule. The running mate of Mikael Backlund with Västerås during the work stoppage, the 24-year-old Swede is rounding into the form that made him a first round pick in the 2006 NHL Entry Draft.
Though he's no lock to start in Calgary, the Flames won't soon forget Allen. The 22-year-old made 30 saves in St. Louis' 5-2 victory over the Flames in February, including one save-of-the-year candidate by batting the puck out of the iar. It was just Allen's second NHL start and he's parlayed that performance into an 8-2-0-1 record with a 2.26 goals against average and a .915 save percentage this year.
Missing 10 games to concussion-like symptoms, Tarasenko had points in two straight games before being held off the scoresheet against the Edmonton Oilers on Saturday night. The 21-year-old rookie has been dynamic at times when healthy and has six goals and 14 points in 20 games this season.
BY THE NUMBERS
St. Louis Record This Season: 17-11-2 (5th in Western Conference)
St. Louis Record Last Season: 49-22-11 (2nd in Western Conference)
Calgary Record This Season: 11-14-4 (14th in Western Conference)
Calgary Season Series Record: 0-1-0
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