Sat, 21 May 2022

Blues hope to slow Flames' sizzling offense

Field Level Media
27 Jan 2022, 19:19 GMT+10

The St. Louis Blues will try to avenge a blowout loss at Calgary three days earlier when they host the Flames on Thursday.

The Flames outshot the Blues 48-21 in their 7-1 victory over the Blues on Monday, but Calgary was just getting warmed up in that category.

In a 6-0 road win over the Columbus Blue Jackets on Wednesday, the Flames fired 62 shots on net, a franchise record and the highest total in a regulation NHL game since March 1989.

"If you're taking that many shots, which doesn't happen very often, I'm going to bet there was a lot of high quality in that tonight," Calgary coach Darryl Sutter said. "I think that we've had in the 40s and even in Edmonton a couple games ago there we probably had as many good opportunities and just didn't score. So we have to stay the course with how we have to play."

The Flames have won three of four games since snapping a four-game losing streak.

Calgary winger Matthew Tkachuk, who grew up in St. Louis, earned five assists against the Blues on Monday, then added two goals Wednesday at Columbus. He has nine goals and 13 assists in his past 11 games with the Flames' top line dominating.

Sutter was glad to see Andrew Mangiapane score his first goal since Dec. 30 and Mikael Backlund net his first since Nov. 21 to give the team more offensive balance against the Blue Jackets.

"After the second period, we had three different lines score, which is critical for this team to win hockey games," Sutter said. "You can get by every once in a while with just special teams or one line. ... We need something out of everybody."

Calgary's Jacob Markstrom earned the shutout on Wednesday, so the Flames seem likely to come back with Dan Vladar (5-3-1, 2.73 goals-against average, .910 save percentage) against the Blues.

Even before the Flames' latest offensive salvo, the Blues knew they were in for a tough rematch.

"We have to learn from (the Monday loss) and just come out angry," St. Louis forward Robert Thomas said. "That's all we can do about it now."

The Blues played Sunday, winning 3-1 at Vancouver, but coach Craig Berube refused to accept the back-to-back games as an excuse for what happened Monday.

"You can't go into a game like that against any team, but let alone Calgary, who's a very good hockey team," Berube said. "They play a man's game. It's gonna be a tough hockey game. We just didn't compete and we didn't skate. All we did was we defended the whole night basically, but we didn't do a very good job of defending either. You can't play the game that way.

"You've got to move on from it, but at the same time we got to learn from it. Whether you're tired or not going into the game -- and there's a lot of times you're not going to have the best energy that's needed -- you gotta battle through it, you gotta have a simple mindset in the game. It comes down to digging in and competing."

Before losing at Calgary, the Blues had won eight of 10 games coming out of the holiday break. They have excelled at home all season, going 16-4-2 on their own ice.

Blues goaltender Jordan Binnington allowed all seven goals in two periods against the Flames. Ville Husso (8-2-1, 1.88 GAA, .943 save percentage) stopped all 13 shots he faced in relief, so he seems likely to start against the Flames this time.

--Field Level Media

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