The Calgary Flames hope to carry some momentum over from Nashville after they shocked the Preds in the third period on Thursday. Calgary erased a 4-1 Nashville lead and then a 5-4 lead to win 6-5 in overtime. The game was less than 2 seconds away from going to a shootout, but Matthew Tkachuk had other ideas. Tkachuk scored a between the legs goal, roofing it over Pekka Rinne’s shoulder top corner. We’ve seen between the leg goals before, even this season, but from that distance out and with the precision that Tkachuk showed is unmatched.
We will see what the Flames do for an encore in Columbus tonight against the Blue Jackets. The Flames are on the road for two more games before heading home. They’re on a back-to-back Saturday and Sunday, having to pick up and head to Washington following their matchup against the Blue Jackets tonight. Playing the Capitals is difficult enough, but on a back-to-back during a road trip is going to add another dimension of tough. In any event, Calgary must keep their eyes on the Jackets tonight, who go into tonight playing the second-half of a back-to-back.
The Blue Jackets were in St. Louis last night and gave the Blues all they could handle. They had a 3-1 lead in the second period, but that evaporated quickly. The Blues pulled within a goal, and then seconds later the game was knotted up. After a scoreless final frame, the Blues buried the Blue Jackets in overtime with a David Perron goal. Columbus fell to 5-5-3 with the loss, while the Flames are just 7-6-2.
Calgary were expecting a lot more in October from their club. Fresh off a 1st place finish in the Western Conference a season ago, it’s been a slow start for the Flames in 2019-20. It will be interesting to see if that effort in Nashville is a turning point for the Flames. It very well could catapult their season in the right direction, or conversely, a letdown in Columbus could hurt their morale. Head below our free Flames vs. Blue Jackets pick.
Calgary Flames vs. Columbus Blue Jackets Pick
The Blue Jackets went with 25-year-old Elvis Merzlikins last night and opted to give starter Joonas Korpisalo the Flames tonight. The goaltending hasn’t been too special for the Blue Jackets thus far, as they try and operate in the post-Sergei Bobrovsky era. After playing second fiddle to Bobrovsky since 2015, Korpisalo patience finally paid off in Columbus.
Having said that, Korpisalo hasn’t proven that he can be a starting netminder in the NHL yet. That debate will likely be ongoing throughout 2019-20. He has to be better if he wants to be a full-time option for the Jackets. Korpisalo heads into Saturday night with a 3.37 GAA and 0.886 save percentage in ten outings. In seven starts in Columbus, he’s posted a 3.24 GAA and 0.878 save percentage.
The Blue Jackets can’t be having that, especially with the talent they lost in the offseason. They went all-in with their trade deadline acquisitions and are left with a mediocre team for 2019-20. Instead of rebuilding and selling, they bought and didn’t get any prospects in return, though. The Jackets would appreciate some help right now, especially defensively where they’ve had issues. That goes back to the goaltending, but the defence is also allowing just over 30 shots per game.
Columbus have not been using Nationwide Arena as a home-ice advantage. They enter Saturday with a record of 3-3-1 which is average, but their numbers indicate something much worse. The Jackets have struggled in their own zone and the offensive zone. They’ve scored 2.29 goals per game, while giving up 4.33 goals against per contest. I think we kind of expected this from the Blue Jackets after they lost Artemi Panarin to the Rangers in the offseason. Replacing his production is not easy, and it’s without a doubt not on the current roster. Look for the Flames to ride the momentum they generated Thursday night to a victory in Columbus tonight.