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Flames look to begin homestand on winning note vs. Blues

Mar 17, 2015 - 2:57 PM ( - The Calgary Flames attempt to begin a five-game homestand on a positive note, as the playoff hopeful club hosts the Central Division-leading St. Louis Blues on Tuesday.

With 81 points, the Flames currently are in postseason position after missing the playoffs in each of the last five springs. Calgary is tied with Los Angeles for the third and final automatic bid from the Pacific Division, but the Flames hold the tiebreaker over the Kings, who are idle on Tuesday.

Calgary also is just one point behind Vancouver in the division. The Canucks host Philadelphia tonight.

The Flames are hoping to rebound from their first regulation loss in March when they take the ice against the first-place Blues. Calgary was 5-0-1 this month and had won two in a row before getting handed a 3-2 setback Saturday at Colorado.

The Avalanche grabbed a 2-0 lead in the second period and would never allow Calgary to draw even after that. David Jones made it a 2-1 game for the Flames 3:54 into the third period, but John Mitchell restored Colorado's two-goal edge just 28 seconds later.

Lance Bouma scored for Calgary with 14:12 remaining in the third, but the score remained 3-2 until the final horn sounded.

Bouma and Jones each added an assist in the loss, while Mikael Backlund posted a pair of helpers. Karri Ramo made 23 saves for Calgary, which fell in regulation for the first time since a 2-1 road setback against the Islanders on Feb. 27.

"They did a great job in the third by really not giving us much," Bouma said.

Calgary is 19-12-3 as the host this season. It will continue this homestand Thursday against Philadelphia.

The Blues, who have won four of their last five games, will try to keep pace with Nashville in the race for the Central crown. The clubs are knotted at 93 points, five more than third-place Chicago, and the Predators also play tonight against visiting Minnesota.

St. Louis holds the tiebreaker over Nashville due to having played two fewer games.

After having a three-game win streak snapped Thursday versus Minnesota, the Blues kicked off a six-game road trip with Saturday's 3-0 win over Dallas. It was the sixth victory in the last eight away tilts for St. Louis, which is 20-11-3 as the visiting team.

Jake Allen made 28 saves for his fourth shutout of the season on Saturday and Vladimir Tarasenko broke a scoreless tie 4:26 into the third period. Alexander Steen added a power-play goal later on and T.J. Oshie completed the scoring with an empty-netter.

Allen made nine saves in the first period, seven in the second and turned aside 12 shots in the third for his fifth career shutout.

"I was just trying to give the guys a chance tonight," said Allen. "It was a tough game, a back-to-back and a quick turnaround, so it was a huge win."

Brian Elliott will get the start tonight for the Blues. He is 5-3-0 with a 1.70 goals against average in nine career games versus Calgary.

Tonight's contest is the first meeting between the Blues and Flames since St. Louis recorded a 4-1 home win on Oct. 11. Calgary has lost two straight in the series and the Blues boast a 7-1-1 record over the last nine encounters.

Calgary has claimed five of the past eight meetings at the Saddledome. However, the Blues posted a 5-0 rout when the clubs last met in Alberta on Jan. 9 of last season.