FGD 8: Singing the blues (again) (6pm MT, SN Flames)

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(Sergei Belski / USA Today Sports)

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After a game less than 24 hours ago in the Windy City, the Calgary Flames (2-4-1) are back at it again tonight. They face a familiar foe: the St. Louis Blues, who they played on Friday in Calgary. The Flames played a rather uneven effort on Friday (and deservedly lost) but they were quite good on Monday night against Chicago. They’ll need a similarly strong effort tonight if they’re planning on escaping the Savvis Center with two points.

The puck drops at 6 p.m. MT on Sportsnet Flames and Sportsnet 960 The Fan!

THE FLAMES

Projected lines, courtesy Daily Faceoff:

Johnny GaudreauSean MonahanAlex Chiasson

Kris VersteegSam BennettTroy Brouwer 

Lance BoumaMikael BacklundMichael Frolik
Micheal FerlandMatt StajanMatthew Tkachuk

Mark GiordanoDennis Wideman
T.J. BrodieDeryk Engelland
Nick GrossmannDougie Hamilton

According to Andy Strickland, the plan two days ago was for Brian Elliott to play both games on the back-to-back. If you’re judging him based on the Chicago game, he deserves another game (if he wants to go). Unless something wacky happens, I’d expect Elliott to start here. (Roger Millions tweeted that’s the case, by the way.)

Besides that, Glen Gulutzan mentioned on Sunday that he’d likely make some changes in the roster given the back-to-back scenario.The changes for tonight? Matthew Tkachuk in for Freddie Hamilton and Nicklas Grossmann in for Jyrki Jokipakka. It’s Tkachuk’s hometown (he was born in the Phoenix area but came up through the St. Louis minor hockey system) and he should bring some energy to a team that’ll need it. As for Grossmann? Well, he’s a physical (and slow) player that will get a ton of defensive zone starts and be expected to play “chip it out and head to the bench” all game probably. That’ll (hopefully) give whatever high ground there is to the other pairings. We’ll see if it works, but that’s probably the idea.

If their power play can actually keep producing like it did early last night, perhaps they can sneak out of St. Louis with another two points.

THE BLUES

Lines via Daily Faceoff:

Robby FabbriPaul StastnyAlex Steen 

David PerronJaden SchwartzVladimir Tarasenko
Magnus PaajarviPatrik BerglundNail Yakupov
Scottie UpshallKyle BrodziakRyan Reaves

Jay BouwmeesterAlex Pietrangelo
Carl GunnarssonKevin Shattenkirk
Joel EdmundsonColton Parayko

Carter Hutton starts for the Blues after Jake Allen’s wacky adventure between the pipes in St. Louis’ win over Calgary on Saturday night. That game was actually St. Louis’ last game, so they’re fairly well-rested and playing on their home ice.

I don’t anticipate many changes for the Blues aside from the goalie swap. They’re a structured, disciplined and well-coached club with tons of depth. At this point, they might lack the tippity-top end talent that Chicago has (in the form of your Kanes, Toewses and Keiths), but they’re probably a better all-around team with fewer big holes than their rivals.

The Flames’ familiarity with them, having played them so recently, could either help or hurt them. The fact the Flames are facing them on the road in the back end of a back-to-back could help, though, as it’ll force the Flames to simplify their game and not micro-manage themselves so much.

THE NUMBERS

Over/Under For Nicklas Grossmann Time On Ice: 12 minutes
Over/Under For Nicklas Grossmann Goals Against (All Situations): 2
Over/under For Johnny Gaudreau Shots On Goal: 4.5

FLAMES BLUES
Wins 2 4
Points 5 9
Power Play 10.0% 26.1%
Penalty Kill 75.8% 95.0%
Score-Adjusted Corsi 48.1% 52.7%

HISTORY LESSON

All-time, the Flames and Blues have played 167 times in the regular
season, including once this season. The Flames have a slight 75-74-18 edge. The Flames lost to them 6-4 on Saturday. After this, they meet once more this season.

KNOW THY ENEMY

Here are some Blues follows for you:

SUM IT UP

After escaping the United Center with two points last night, the Flames have a chance to head home with even more tonight against St. Louis. It’ll be a tough battle, but if the Flames can play the same way they did last night over another 60 minutes they might have a fighting chance in this one.