The Flames played a perfect road game. After a good shootout win against the Blackhawks, the Flames carried that momentum forward and looked great against the Blues, winning 4-1 in Brian Elliott and Troy Brouwer’s return to St. Louis.
Kind of a cool storyline to start the game. Glen Gulutzan had Matthew Tkachuk in the starting line up after sitting him out the past couple of games. Tkachuk’s father played many years as a Blue, with Matthew spending a lot of his childhood living in St. Louis and being around the Blues. Playing him on a line with Mikael Backlund and Michael Frolik was a smart move also.
The Flames started the game off strong for the second game in a row! On a powerplay just a couple of minutes in, Wideman was left all alone in front of the net and Troy Brouwer found him with a pass and the Flames went up 1-0. 3 powerplay goals in 2 games. Crazy stuff! But crazy things were not stopping there. At the halfway point of the period, the Flames rushed up the ice and Kris Versteeg found Deryk Engelland crashing the net after the Blues’ defenders were drawn to Sam Bennett. Engelland took the pass and proceeded to make a beautiful backhand deke in tight and put it past Carter Hutton to score what was likely the best goal of his career so far. 2-0 Calgary, their first 2 goal lead of the season.
The Blues woke up a bit after that second goal and started to make an effort, but they did not find the scoreboard and it was 2-0 Flames after 1, with the shots 8-5 Calgary. Good starts to the game can go a long way.
The Flames kept up the good work in the second period. Shortly after their powerplay ended, Sam Bennett held onto the puck in the offensive zone, deked around some Blues and then sniped one past Hutton to make it 3-0 Calgary. These past couple games, Bennett has looked really good. That is excellent news for the Flames’ ability to produce offense.
With the Flames up 3-0, they just kept playing an absolutely terrific road game. They really limited the Blues ability to generate offense, while creating chances of their own. This is the sort of Flames team I was expecting at the start of the season, so it is nice to see them finally show up. Shots were 15 to 6 in the period for the Flames, leading the Blues 23-11 after 2 periods. Calgary was the team that played the night before, so not bad numbers at all.
The Flames almost went up by 4 early in the third, as Sam Bennett just failed to get a handle on the beautiful cross-ice pass from Kris Versteeg. Shortly after, Tkachuk who almost scored a couple of times in the game, rang a shot off the post.
The Blues would get on the board a few minutes into the third. With Sam Bennett in the box, Mark Giordano apparently (he might of, he might have not) cleared the puck over the glass, making it a 5-on-3 for the Blues for 1:43. The Blues passed the puck around nicely and Kevin Shattenkirk put one over Elliott’s shoulder during the 5-on-3. That was really it for the Blues, as they did not really threaten much from then on. The Flames put on a perfect road performance.
Johnny Gaudreau scored an empty-netter, and the Flames defeated the Blues 4-1. Shots in the third were 12-7 for the Blues, final count was 30-23 for Calgary.
Flames 3 Stars
- Sam Bennett: After a solid game against the Blackhawks, Bennett played his best game of the season tonight. He scored a goal, had an assist and was close many times to getting more. He is heating up.
- Brian Elliott: Back-to-back nights for Brian Elliott, back-to-back wins. He had another quality start, this time against his former team. He was not tested much in the first couple periods, but was solid when he was called upon. We do not need to worry about him anymore.
- Kris Versteeg: Versteeg seems to have gotten comfortable in a Flames jersey now. He produced again tonight, showing off some terrific vision and playmaking ability. The Versteeg-Bennett-Brouwer line was a good one tonight.
- Solid move by Gulutzan to play Elliott again tonight. He played really well yesterday and obviously wanted the start against his own team. He had a tough start to the season, but those were 2 big wins he just earned for the team and that has to he a huge confidence booster.
- The Flames headed on this 2 game road trip looking like a terrible team. If they lost both games, they would have been 1-6-1, a team thats season was likely over. Instead they are 3-4-1. Right back in the thick of things.
- It’s not just that they won these couple of games, it is how they won. They played a pretty good game in Chicago last night, but tonight they were unreal. They played a perfect road game against a very good team that they often struggle against. They had lost their last 7 games in St. Louis, but they came in tonight on the second half of a back-to-back and played their best game of the season. If these 2 games are a sign that the team has found their footing, they could actually be quite successful this season.
- Wideman was good the last couple of nights. Not perfect, but he helped contribute offensively and did not do any damage. If he plays like that, there is a place for him in the line up.
- Good to see Tkachuk back in the line up. He came close to scoring multiple times, including hitting the post. He also managed to make an enemy in the Blues’ forward Jaskin, which is always fun to watch.
- Honestly, there is really nothing bad that can be said about what happened tonight. That is much more fun than a long list of problems.
After this brief little road trip, the Flames head back to Calgary for a couple of days off before facing the Ottawa Senators on Friday night. They have won 2, let’s hope they can take some of this road success back home.