St. Louis Blues vs. Calgary Flames: Game Preview and Opponent Outlook


The St. Louis Blues will play their second game of the season on Saturday night and attempt to get their first win of the season against the Calgary Flames. Calgary, who struggled to a 35-40-7 record in 2013-14 while finishing 13th in the Western Conference, started this season on a positive note, defeating the Edmonton Oilers 5-2 on Thursday night.

We caught up with Len Nunes, the editor at Flame for Thought, one of our fellow FanSided sites, to give us some insight on what to expect from the Flames tonight.

1. Obviously the Flames didn’t have their best season in 2013-14. From a Calgary point of view, is there much faith that they’re going to have any sort of a bounce back season this year?

LN: A “bounce back season” may be the incorrect way to phrase a Calgary Flames fan view for the 2014-15.  Expectations vary amongst Flames fan on whether or not the Flames will be better or worse than last season’s 27th overall finish BUT the general feeling of faith is that as a whole, the organization is moving in the right direction.

2. Goaltending seems to be something the Flames have really struggled with, consistency-wise, over the past few years. Can you give us some insight into how they plan to address those issues this season?

LN: The free agent signing of Jonas Hiller adds the stability in net the Calgary Flames have lacked since Miikka Kiprusoff left two years ago.  Karri Ramo should be better this season as it was obvious in the first half of last season he was shaking off 4 years of non-NHL play (he was in the KHL).  Joni Ortio, who’s contract becomes a one-way next year, is the future.  If he does not pan out, Mason McDonald and/or Jon Gillies are in the system and more importantly, under the Jonas Hiller bridge contract.

3. What’s the outlook for the three Flames with St. Louis ties this season (Brandon Bollig, the St. Louis native, and the two former Blues defensemen, Kris Russell and Dennis Wideman)?

LN: Brandon Bollig – – The Calgary Flames want and need the Brandon Bollig who played all 82 games for the Chicago Blackhawks last season averaging just under 11 minutes per game.  A 4th line winger who can chip in a few goals and help a little with the penalty kill.  The outlook is positive!

Kris Russell – – Russell earned one of the team’s letters, being named Assistant Captain along with Curtis Glencross.  With the Flames, Russell has developed into a 20 minute per game player because he does everything.  Russell kills penalties and is a threat on the powerplay with his point shot.  Russell blocks shots and can lead breakouts out of the zone.  The outlook is positive.

Dennis Wideman – – Even if Wideman were to return to his 10+ goals per season level, the general feeling is that if the Calgary Flames could find someone to absorb the rest of his contract in a trade, he would be on the first plane out of town.  The outlook is a “stuck with feeling”.

The Blues are expected to be at full strength on Saturday night, although they could be dealing with some soreness. Forwards Paul Stastny and Patrik Berglund both did not practice on Friday due to injuries, though they are expected to be available against the Flames.