Originally posted on Fox Sports Midwest
By ASSOCIATED PRESS  |  Last updated 11/7/13
The St. Louis Blues are one of three NHL teams with a goal differential exceeding their number of games played. Outscoring their opponents by an average of 1.23 goals per game, they'll go for their 10th win in 14 games Thursday night at home against the Calgary Flames. The Blues (9-2-2) return home after a 2-1-0 road trip against the Eastern Conference. They've won four of five after Tuesday's 3-2 shootout win at Montreal. Alexander Steen scored his NHL-best 13th goal, and has nine goals and two assists during an eight-game point streak. He's over half way to his career-high mark of 24 goals in 2009-10. "I saw Steen with his eyes as big as softballs," captain David Backes told the team's official website. "He's the guy you want to pass the puck to, and he made no mistake about it." Backes has nine points in his last eight contests and 15 in 13 games a season after managing 28 in 48 games. He's already matched his 2012-13 goal total of six. The Blues went 0 for 4 on the power play, but their penalty killing was perfect for the third consecutive game. They've allowed only two goals in the last 23 short-handed situations over the past eight contests. Steen and Backes lead a deep team that ranks second in the league with 3.46 goals per game after finishing 17th (2.58) in 2012-13. They'll get their first look this season at a Calgary team that allowed five unanswered goals in a 5-1 loss at Minnesota Tuesday. Jiri Hudler staked the Flames to an early lead, but they failed to score again. "The goals that they scored, you could have taped Patrick Roy, (Ed) Belfour and (Martin) Brodeur together and we wouldn't have won that game," coach Bob Hartley said. "They were so much better than us, they deserved the two points." Rookie goaltender Reto Berra has played the last two games and will get his third start against the Blues, the team that drafted him in the fourth round in 2006. He stopped 19 shots against the Wild two nights after earning his first NHL win with a 42-save performance in Chicago. "There was no way he could have done anything on any of those goals," Hartley told the team's official website of the Minnesota game. "We want to build him up just like we did with Karri (Ramo) and Joey (MacDonald). We feel that with the day off today, it's a good spot to put him back." The Flames (6-7-2) have lost seven of 10 since a season-opening 3-0-2 start and a punchless power play hasn't helped lately. They've failed to convert on their last 22 opportunities during a seven-game span. Curtis Glencross, who has one of the team's eight power-play goals, won't play Thursday or Friday in Colorado due to a lower-body injury. Defenseman Shane O'Brien missed Wednesday's practice with an illness and his status is uncertain. The team recalled center Max Reinhart from AHL Abbotsford. His father, Paul, played 648 games in the NHL for Atlanta, Calgary and Vancouver. The Blues have won four of five against the Flames, including two of three last season.
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