Calgary Flames 1 - St. Louis Blues 5
|St. Louis Blues||2||1||2||5|
STL  - Saad (14) (Schenn, Krug) 6:15
CGY  - Backlund (6) (Mangiapane) 10:34
STL  - Schenn (10) (Mikkola) 13:59
STL  - Saad (15) (2) (Unassisted) 9:57
STL  - Kyrou (17) (Thomas, Scandella) 4:10
STL  - O’Reilly (10) (Tarasenko, Saad) 18:59 PP
|St. Louis Blues||11||10||7||28|
The Flames entered Thursday night’s contest in St. Louis looking to win their third straight game and continue a torrid pace of both scoring and shooting. Calgary was coming off of an impressive 6-0 win the night before in Columbus which included racking up a franchise record 62 shots on net. The Blues on the other hand had revenge on their minds as they were looking to make up for a 7-1 thrashing they took in Calgary on Monday night against the very same Flames.
The Blues went with Ville Husso in net who was been absolutely spectacular so far this season while the Flames somewhat surprisingly countered with Jacob Markstrom. Markstrom was playing for the third time in four nights but the Flames chose to ride him rather than go to Dan Vladar. It was a curious decision.
St. Louis opened the scoring early in the first period with Brandon Saad tallying his 14th of the campaign. The goal was one you would have ideally liked Markstorm to have, but it was a well placed shot as well so not totally on him.
Calgary tied things up a few minutes later with Mikael Backlund rifling a one-timer through Husso somehow to get things evened up. It was the second goal in as many games/nights for Backlund as he looks to get things clicking offensively after a long stretch of being snakebitten.
The Blues regained the lead late in the period with a goal from Brayden Schenn after a blue-line turnover by the Flames gave him a 2-on-1 and he swifly buried a shot up high on Markstrom who was cheating slightly towards the potential pass.
Early in the second period the lead was extended to 3-1 with Saad being the beneficiary of a rough turnover by Adam Ruzicka who decidedly did not have a good game. Ruzicka knocked the puck in front of his own net off a board battle and Saad easily buried it as he had the space to do so. St. Louis extended their lead in the third period to 4-1 with Jordan Kyrou being left alone in front and pretty much salted things away from there. Ryan O’ Reilly also snagged a late powerplay goal to complete the scoring.
With the loss Calgary sees their short two game win streak snapped but overall it wasn’t a terrible performance as they had a good number of chances. They move to 20-13-6 on the year but will remain 8th in the West.
- Goaltending Questions: The decision to start Markstrom again was somewhat surprising and unless Vladar is dealing with some sort of minor injury, it doesn’t make a ton of sense. Markstrom was easily the 2nd best goalie on the ice tonight and some it looked due to overwork. I would be interested to see what Darryl Sutter says in his post game press conference.
- Chances Were There: Despite losing 5-1, Calgary had a pretty comfortable edge in high danger chances at 5v5, outchancing St. Louis 10-4, and 13-6 total at all strengths. It was more or less a solid game from them, but not quite as dangerous as their last three.
- Adam Ruzicka’s Rough Night: We have been singing the praises of Ruzicka lately but tonight was a rough one for the young Slovak with the turnover on the third goal and a penalty as well. He also had the 2nd lowest xGF on the team. Games like this will happen for young players, but it will be interesting to see if he comes out of the lineup on Saturday as a result. I sure hope not personally.
- Top Line Cooled Off: The Flames top line of Matthew Tkachuk, Elias Lindholm, and Johnny Gaudreau was kept pretty in check tonight after combining for ten points in the meeting on Monday night. It was just the 4th time in the last 23 games that Gaudreau was held off the scoresheet.
Flame of the Game
Mikael Backlund (F): With questions swirling about if the Flames need to add to their centre depth, Backlund has chosen the right time to re-emerge offensively with a pair of goals in his last two games. Backlund also had a game high seven shots on goal along with a couple of shorthanded opportunities that he couldn’t finish. He has been a notorious slow starter in recent years but often turned things on around Games 40-60 so we should watch for that again. The Flames could sure use some extra scoring punch from #11.