Spoilers are wearing blue

a href="mailto:steve.macfarlane@calgarysun.com">STEVE MACFARLANE -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 9:32 AM ET

ST. LOUIS, Mo. -- The Conference standings are written on the walls of most NHL dressing rooms at this time of year.

Even those who have little or no chance of climbing into eighth or above to qualify for the playoffs.

They were posted in Minnesota and surely they'll be posted in St. Louis and Columbus over the next two nights as the Calgary Flames try to grab four points against teams stuck in a spoiler role this spring.

Flames defenceman Cale Hulse knows even those with nothing but pride to play for can be dangerous.

"As far as facing teams that are out of the race -- yeah, sometimes you run into teams that play well," he said as his team prepares to face the Blues tonight at the Savvis Center. "There's guys that maybe weren't playing well when the pressure was on and now some of those guys, when they have no pressure, they play better. With St. Louis, we know they had a tough one here against San Jose the other night. We know that and we know that they're probably going to be trying to redeem themselves just coming off of that."

Hulse was referring to the Sharks' 6-0 pasting of the Blues Tuesday, which will no doubt motivate the Western Conference's cellar dweller.

But Hulse said his Flames aren't worrying about anything but motivating themselves as they head down the stretch.

With a 1-2-1 record on their current seven-game road trip, the Flames want to get on a roll. There's no better place to start than St. Louis.

"The situation we're in, our main focus is what we have to do," said Hulse. "With the way we've been playing -- win one, lose one -- and the situation we were in going into last (Tuesday's loss to Minnesota), we spoke about that (yesterday) as a group. It's up to us, ultimately. We've got to get on a roll. Get on our game and play our game and worry about the things we can control."

Hulse's current partner on the blueline, Andrew Ference, says the opponent doesn't make a difference. The team needs to enter every game with a dominant mentality.

"We have to approach the games knowing that we should win," said Ference. "We've proven we're a good team and we're proving we belong at the top of the standings. You can't just stop that. You can't be a first-place team just by default.

"If you're playing St. Louis or you're playing Dallas, there's a really big message that you send -- to not only your coaches and other teams but to yourselves about the kind of team you are -- by the way you do show up against teams that are out and teams that are in."


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