The Calgary Flames kept the goal train chugging on Wednesday, blanking the Columbus Blue Jackets 6-0. There isn’t much of a break, however, as the team stops in St. Louis for their second in back-to-back starts. Here are some thoughts on the win in Columbus and a look ahead to the tilt with the Blues, complete with betting odds.
Anyone who reads Flame for Thought regularly (and I’d like to thank all 4 of you) knows that I normally put out a My thoughts article after a game and an Ahead of the game piece beforehand. Since the Calgary Flames are between back-to-back outings, however, I thought it might be more economical to combine the two. Please enjoy!
Flames vs. Blue Jackets: My thoughts
Sixty-two shots. A new Calgary Flames record. Need I say more?
Well, I will. It felt like the Flames got the puck in first period and just plain did not let it go. They won a dominant 67% of their faceoffs, led in that category by Sean Monahan and Elias Lindholm. They won 70% and 76% of their draws respectively. All this means that the Flames were driving possession from the start of almost every play.
Jacob Markstrom did not have the busiest night of his life. But he was good when he had to be against only 23 shots (almost 40 less than his counterpart at the other end of the ice) and 5 High Danger Chances. It will be interesting to see who starts on Thursday against St. Louis. Conventional wisdom says Markstrom will sit. However, given he just notched his league leading 6th shutout, I think he should at least get the right of first refusal.
Looking again at the scoring, it warmed my heart to see Mikael Backlund notch his 5th goal of the season. This is Backlund’s 14th season with the Flames and I’ve always admired how he has embraced his changing roles over the years. It isn’t likely he’ll be the 20-goal, 50-point guy he once was. But he is a reliable second/third line centre and brilliant on the penalty kill. Still, offence from Backlund is necessary if the Calgary Flames are going to move up in the world.
Finally, if there was area of concern, it was the power play. For all the offence the team generated on Wednesday, it was an odd anomaly that they went 0/3 with the man advantage. That is something to watch closely in upcoming games.
Ahead of the Game: Flames vs. Blues
While the Flames were off dancing with the Blue Jackets in Columbus, the St. Louis Blues have been licking their wounds from the 7-1 thrashing they got in Calgary on Monday. For the Blues, this is the second in a home-and-home versus the Flames. So expect them to be well rested and angry.
The Flames would be wise to remember that the Blues had won 7 of their last 9 games prior to Monday night. They sit 3rd in the Central Division. They’re also 3rd in a Western Conference where the Calgary Flames are looking up from the 8th spot. This is not a bad team.
Jordan Binnington, who was likely considered for Canada’s Olympic team had the NHL not withdrawn, will be looking to bounce back after being chased from the net after the 2nd period on Monday. Look for him to keep the door shut on Thursday.
According WynnBET, the St. Louis Blues are the moneyline favourites at home at 1.71. The Calgary Flames are road ‘dogs at 2.20. Interestingly, the Blues are 2.67 to beat Calgary by more than 1.5 goals, but the Flames are 1.52 to come within the goal and a half.
The total for the game is set at an over/under of 6. The odds are slightly in favour of the over at 1.83