Tonight’s game against the Flames is a biggie – with a win tonight, the Blues lock themselves in a tie for the Central Division lead with the Detroit Red Wings, and start to vindicate General Manager Doug Armstrong’s decision to stay relatively quiet over the trade deadline. The Blues face the 11th place Calgary Flames, who after a mediocre year are still just 3 points out of the playoff picture.
St. Louis has not won a division title since the 1999-2000 season when they were President’s Cup Champions. They are now in position to tie the Red Wings, who before a loss to Vancouver had won 23 straight home games, with a win tonight. The Blues had a much needed day off Sunday after a sloppy, grind-it-out win in Winnipeg on Saturday morning, a game in which St. Louis was outshot 41-16. The Blues have been leaning on their outstanding play of Jaroslav Halak recently, who is 3-1-0 with a 1.45 goals against average in his past 4 starts. The Blues have been able to put together a string of victories lately, tallying a record of 8-3-0 in their past 11 contests.
The Flames, on the other hand, are losers of 3 straight, and are only 4-2-4 over their past 10 games. This has not been enough to keep them out of the playoff picture however, as the bottom half of the Western Conference has shown extreme parody over the last few months.
This matchup has favored the Blues so far this season, who are 2-1-0 against the Flames. I’m predicting a bounce-back effort for the defense in this game, along with another splendid performance by Halak who has been standing on his head lately –
Blues 4, Flames 1