The Calgary Flames pushed the Chicago Blackhawks to the brink last night, bringing them to overtime and escaping a Blackhawk’s power-play, only to go on and win in a shootout. It was a superb effort from the Flames, who were able to get their first marquee win of the season. This was only the second win for the Flames to advance to 2-4-1 but it was a big one over a recent Stanley Cup Champion. Brian Elliott needed the win more than anyone and now may finally get a chance to play his former team tonight back in St. Louis. The Flames and Blues met on Saturday night, with the Flames opting to go to Chad Johnson in net. Elliott got the call last night and played a solid game, allowing 2 goals on 33 shots, providing a much needed boost to his save percentage. The shootout win against the Blackhawks concluded around 10:30 Chicago time. So, by the time they leave the United Center for the airport it’ll be past midnight.
Despite coming into tonight without much rest or sleep at all, I’d be surprised to see Chad Johnson in net. This would be the perfect opportunity for the Flames to get Elliott’s confidence up after he played well against the Blackhawks. A solid performance against the Hawks and Blues on back-to-back nights could do wonders for him. Elliott had a save percentage of 0.839 prior to his quality effort in Chicago. He will have to deal with porous defense all season long, though. So, there really isn’t much chance of him having the same numbers he did in St. Louis as a Blue. His numbers are going to take a significant dip even if he plays like he did with the Blues. There isn’t any time to sit back and enjoy the win, as they have a very good Blues team waiting for them in St. Louis on Tuesday night.
The Blues have predictably gotten off to a solid start in 2016. Backed by Jake Allen in net, the Blues are 4-1-1 and are expected to put together another solid regular season campaign. The playoffs? The Blues have continually failed to reach the Stanley Cup Finals, but got closer last year. This is Ken Hitchcock’s last year behind an NHL bench as he will be entering retirement following the conclusion of this season. We’ll see if he can end it on a high note. The Blues enter Tuesday night with a record of 2-0-0 at home with wins over the Rangers and Wild. St. Louis has had an extended rest, their last game coming Saturday against this Flames team.
The Blues poured it on offensively, hitting Chad Johnson 39 times and getting 5 goals past him. They added an empty netter to make it a two goal win in Calgary. The Blues enter tonight relatively healthy, with the only exception being Jori Lehtera who is on the IR. The Flames haven’t been good on back-to-backs of late, going 0-5 in their last five efforts. Further, Calgary has had a heck of a time trying to win in St. Louis, with a 0-7 record in their last seven. The Blues are also 7-1 over the Flames in their last eight meetings. There isn’t any reason the Blues won’t be able to take advantage of a tired Flames team who should still be on a high from beating the Blackhawks last night. The Blues should get another easy win over the Flames here.
PICK: BLUES -1.5 (+105)