The Flames are 2-1 with the 9th ranked powerplay unit (29.4%) and 13th ranked penalty killing unit (81.8%). The Blues are 0-1-1 with the 17th ranked powerplay (20%) and 11th ranked penalty kill.

The Flames took 2 out of 3 from the Blues last season with their only loss being their only visit to St. Louis. Mikael Backlund had both goals in the road loss and both were assisted by Matthew Tkachuk. Neither of the Flames Carolina acquisitions (Noah Hanifin or Elias Lindholm) registered a point versus the Blues last season.

After thinking Dillon Dube would be out tonight after seeing Rotowire (a must site for fantasy hockey players but not for “real” news) list him as day-to-day, he did get the start keeping all 4 lines the same as the ones that blanked the Preds. The Daily Yahoo Fantasy leagues had David Rittich starting tonight until the announcement was made earlier today that the Flames would continue to go with Mike Smith in net.

Nice touch starting the game with Tkachuk’s line.

1st Period Highlights

1st Period Thoughts

If you were worried about the decision to stay with Smith in net, your fears were quickly alleviated as his first two saves were dandies. First off a partial breakaway by Brayden Schenn a kick save, then off of a nice feed from Schenn to Alex Pietrangelo a wonderful blocker save.

Juuso Valimaki with the accidental tripping penalty.  45 seconds of pressure before Flames forced the first stoppage. Derek Ryan on the breakout after winning the draw lucky to not get called for an intentional offensive zone offside. Michael Stone with a good penalty killing shift.

6:33 into the period and the Flames have their second shot. Thank you Anthony Peluso.

Sam Bennett attacks the net and I believe tries to spin and shoot but the puck goes straight to James Neal for his first goal as a Flame. Great effort by Bennett, better finish by Neal. On the ensuing faceoff, which Dube won cleanly, the Blues gained possession and quickly tied the game. Coach Peters did not deviate from his rolling of the lines and Ryan’s 4th line took the ice after the Blues goal.

When you have a rookie pairing on defence such as Valimaki and Rasmus Andersson, goals like Blues 2nd of the game are going to happen. Experience is a wonderful teacher.

Flames powerplay starts with one of the best faceoff men in the league in Ryan O’Reilly being waved. The ensuing Flames faceoff win led to 30 seconds of zone time but no shots. The Flames would win the other offensive zone faceoff but a pass off the skates of Johnny Gaudreau kicked the puck out of the zone. It took a couple attempts to gain the zone again but Jake Allen was up to the task in the Blues net.

Successful kill of the Bennett penalty but please no more cross ice O’Reilly to Vladimir Tarasenko pass and snipes.

The Robert Thomas pass out in front of Smith rattles of Gaudreau’s skates and ends up sweetly on the goal scorers stick. The -2 stat that sits across the Monahan first line and defensive pairing of Valimaki & Andersson consists of bad luck and a steep learning curve. Everything is going to be okay.

Gaudreau draws a penalty and while we wait Monahan earns a penalty shot. You see something new every time you watch a game. Mony hits the post on a frozen Blues goalie.

2nd Period Highlights

2nd Period Thoughts

That backchecking play by Austin Czarnik stopping Tarasenko from unloading a shot was textbook and beautiful.

Another accidental tripping call by the Flames, this time by Michael Frolik. There is a difference between trying to trip someone and inadvertently tripping someone. Sadly they are both penalties. Also sadly, when you have a goaltender as aggressive as Smith is in terms of playing the puck you are going to deal with a handful of goals against because of a misplay.

At this point the shots are 17-8 for the Blues and the score 4-1 but it feels like it should be closer. This easily could be a 1-1 game and a classic example of the Flames hanging around in a road game looking to steal the points. Instead we’ve had our rookie defensemen learn a new lesson and some bad luck. The game has not been as bad as the score looks.

Bennett-Dube-Neal with a great chance after some hard work by all three parties. They have been the teams best line tonight so far.

Solid kill of the Giordano penalty. Valimaki was left out there too long after dragging the puck in the offensive zone for a few seconds.

Nice give-and-go between Tkachuk and Czarnik which may have ended differently if Robert Bortuzzo wasn’t blatantly hooking him. TJ Brodie heading up a 2-on-1 taking a shot at the doorstep of the Blues crease. More of this please.

Peluso draws a penalty. Schenn with a slashing call on Gaudreau. As a Flames fan, we see this far too often. Two man advantage for over 1:30. Neal stopped on a one time. Giordano goal post. Monahan robbed. There were chances, just no goals.

Smith’s numbers are not star worthy tonight but the breakaway save on Jakub Jerabek was! Lines are in a blender now for the Flames. Seeing Neal with Johnny and Mony.

Frolik with a tripping penalty on purpose this time. What was a good looking kill ended with Perron scoring his hat-trick goal.

3rd Period Highlights

3rd Period Thoughts

Expectedly Rittich goes into the net for the 3rd period.

To start the period here are the lines the Flames rolled out:

Tkachuk-Ryan-Czarnik
Gaudreau-Monahan-Neal
Bennett-Backlund-Lindholm
Frolik-Dube-Peluso

Giordano with his 2nd penalty of the game. Lots of pressure, Rittich’s first two saves and a successful kill.

Ryan with some steady time and rewarded with a goal. Czarnik continues to impress.

Some good luck for the Flames as Backlund fights for the rebound from a Giordano point shot and the puck pops out towards Bennett and gets kicked in by Pietrangelo. It is now 5-3 and we may have some new lines for Saturday night’s game in Colorado.

2:38 to go and Rittich to the bench. Tkachuk with a point blank chance was the best chance to score. Some interesting decisions to make over the next 48 hours for Coach Peters.

PREVIOUS FLAMES GAMES: Game 3, Game 2, Game 1

March To The Stanley Cup, Calgary Flames Game 4

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