Wanna blog? Start your own hockey blog with My HockeyBuzz. Register for free today!

G4 Calgary Flames @ St. Louis Blues: Another stiff test

October 11, 2018, 12:56 PM ET [69 Comments]
Todd Cordell
Calgary Flames Blogger • RSSArchiveCONTACT
Follow me on Twitter @ToddCordell

Five things to watch when the Calgary Flames take on the St. Louis Blues:

1. The MMA line

The Matthew Tkachuk - Mikael Backlund - Austin Czarnik trio are putting up mind-numbingly good numbers right now. In ~22 minutes with them on the ice at 5v5, the Flames have out-attempted opponents 46-13 (77.97 CF%) and out-chanced them 27-6 (81.82 SCF%). The MMA line has been so good at playing keep away and generating quality looks around the net. If they continue doing so, it's only a matter of time before the goals start to come.

2. An impressive rookie

The Flames aren't the only team featuring highly touted youngsters in their lineup. The Blues have a couple, one of whom (Jordan Kyrou) is off to an excellent start. Through two games Kyrou is rocking a 56.25 CF%, 62.96 SCF%, and he has generated eight individual chances in just 22 minutes of 5v5 ice. Keep your eye on him.

3. A better showing from L3

The 3rd line has been a definite eye sore thus far. They've spent a lot of time chasing play in their own zone. Offensively, the lone bright spot might be Sam Bennett banging in a rebound goal that didn't even count.

Bennett is a former top-5 pick, Neal is pulling in $5.75 million annually, and Dube might be the team's best forward prospect. They should be contributing a lot more than they have.

4. 5v5 play

Only nine teams took fewer 5v5 penalties than the Blues a year ago and they're off to a disciplined start this year with just two minors in two games. The Blues are a really good skating team. They have no problems keeping up with opponents, which really limits the amount of stick infractions they are forced to take. The Flames' red-hot power play (wow, that felt strange to write) probably won't get many opportunities tonight so they will have to take care of business at full-strength.

5. Rasmus Andersson's usage

Though Andersson didn't play a lot in his season debut (11:52), I thought he handled himself fairly well alongside Juuso Valimaki – especially considering the opponent.

I'm curious to see if Bill Peters gives Andersson a little more rope as he settles in or if the plan is to shelter him until Travis Hamonic rejoins the lineup. I'm hoping for the former.

Here are the projected lineups:

Calgary (via @Fan960Steinberg)

Johnny Gaudreau - Sean Monahan - Elias Lindholm
Matthew Tkachuk - Mikael Backlund - Austin Czarnik
Sam Bennett - Dillon Dube - James Neal
Anthony Peluso - Derek Ryan - Micheal Frolik

Mark Giordano - T.J. Brodie
Noah Hanifin - Michael Stone
Juuso Valimaki - Rasmus Andersson

Mike Smith

St. Louis (via DailyFaceoff.com)

Patrick Maroon - Ryan O'Reilly - Vladimir Tarasenko
Jaden Schwartz - Brayden Schenn - David Perron
Alex Steen - Tyler Bozak - Jordan Kyrou
Ivan Barbashev - Robert Thomas - Samuel Blais

Joel Edmundson - Alex Pietrangelo
Jay Bouwmeester - Colton Parayko
Jakub Jerabek - Robert Bortuzzo

Jake Allen

Puck drop is just after 8:00 eastern and can be seen on Sportsnet Flames and FS-MW.

Numbers via NaturalStatTrick.com and Corsica.Hockey.

Recent posts:

Smith steals the show, leads Flames to shutout victory over Predators

On Valimaki, a slow start for the Neal line, and more

Three reasons to be optimistic about the Flames heading into 2018-19

Three Flames question marks heading into 2018-19
Join the Discussion: » 69 Comments » Post New Comment
More from Todd Cordell
» Could James Reimer be an option for the Calgary Flames?
» Report: Calgary Flames "aggressive" on trade market
» On targets for defensive depth and Egor Afanasyev
» Is T.J. Brodie's tenure with the Calgary Flames coming to an end?
» Three prospects the Calgary Flames may consider with their 1st round pick