Flames aim to reverse course against host Blues

The slumping Calgary Flames will try to reverse course then they visit the St. Louis Blues on Thursday night.

The Flames carry a five-game losing streak (0-4-1) into the game at Enterprise Center, which is the start of a four-game road trip. They are 4-8-1 away from home this season.

Conversely, the Blues keep rolling along. They have earned points in 10 of their last 11 games while going 8-1-2.

They have suffered just four regulation losses this season in 22 games. They flashed their Stanley Cup-winning form while beating the Tampa Bay Lightning 3-1 on Tuesday night.

"I just think we needed our game for a full 60 minutes," Blues forward Oskar Sundqvist said. "It was a while ago since we did that. It feels like tonight was finally the night where we were putting up our complete game for 60 minutes."

They face a Flames squad that got outscored 15-3 in their last four losses and suffered a scoreless streak of 167 minutes and 44 seconds.

Winger Johnny Gaudreau has no goals, one assist and a minus-10 rating in his last five games. Center Mikael Backlund has four points in his last 14 games.

"We just have to figure out a way to start getting some leads in the first period, stop chasing the game and score some more goals," forward Derek Ryan said after the Flames fell to the Colorado Avalanche 3-2 at home Tuesday.

The Flames have trailed in 16 of their 24 games and they have allowed the first goal in seven consecutive games. Constantly having to play catch-up has taken a toll.

"It's tough, playing from behind all the time," Flames winger Matthew Tkachuk said. "We've got to change that because this is a very, very, very important road trip for us and we want to play better on the road. We're playing some good teams. But we're a good team, too, so we've got to believe that."

Injuries have compounded Calgary's woes. Defensemen T.J. Brodie (medical incident), Travis Hamonic (lower body) and forward Sam Bennett (upper body) have been on the shelf. Brandon Davidson and Zac Rinaldo replaced them in the lineup.

"There is adversity in the fact that we haven't won recently, adversity in the fact we've got some guys down, but that's everybody in the league," coach Bill Peters said. "Across the league you're going to hit it at some point, where you're banged up, lots of injuries. Nobody feels sorry for you when it happens."

The Blues have less firepower with winger Vladimir Tarasenko sidelined by shoulder surgery, but tight defense and Jordan Binnington's goaltending have kept them on track.

Coach Craig Berube juggled his forward lines, moving Robert Thomas to his natural center position with Zach Sanford and Sundqvist on his flanks. Sundqvist tied a career high with six shots against the Lighting and scored the decisive goal.

"He's taken a step," Berube said of Sundqvist. "He's skating a lot better. He's more aggressive of a player than when we first got him. He was a defensive forward when we first got him and now he's taken it to another level."

Binnington has allowed two goals or fewer in eight of his last 11 starts. In two career appearances against the Flames he is 1-0 with a 2.39 goals-against average and a .902 save percentage.

--Field Level Media

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