The St. Louis Blues will try to end their homestand with a win against the Philadelphia Flyers tonight. Standing in their way will be a former friend.
The St. Louis Blues are currently on a roll. The Philadelphia Flyers are struggling and just got some rather bad news.
The Blues are coming off another impressive win in their last game. The Blues knocked off the Anaheim Ducks to improve their home winning streak to an impressive nine games.
One more win will be a club record. Standing in their way will be a former friend (likely still friend) and teammate in Brian Elliott.
The Flyers have an injury situation with their normal starter down. So, the Flyers will turn to the Moose in a return to St. Louis and likely have an AHL call-up as their backup.
How They Stack Up
Given the fact the Blues keep winning, it almost seems redundant to say they are first in the division and conference. At this point, the only thing that bears repeating is how many points they are up and it is currently nine points in the division and 10 points over their closest rival in the Pacific Division.
St. Louis has won nine straight at home, as mentioned, and four straight overall. Their wins came against San Jose, Buffalo, the Rangers and Anaheim.
Philadelphia is currently struggling in the division as they are in fifth in the Atlantic. Despite this, the Flyers are in the second wild card spot if the playoffs started today.
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Philly comes into the game with a record of 24-16-6 and 54 points. It has been a mixed bag for the Flyers as they lost three straight to begin 2020, but then defeated the Washington Capitals and had a hard-fought loss to Tampa Bay 1-0. The Flyers won their last game 6-5 over the Boston Bruins. That was the game where Brad Marchand dusted the puck in the shootout and it traveled about an inch.
As far as matchups go, this has been an even series in recent years. The Blues won both games in 2016-17 and 2018-19, with the Flyers taking both games in 2015-16 and 2017-18.
The teams split in 2013-14 and 2014-15, with the home team taking each game. If those numbers hold true, it is either the Flyers turn to win both games or St. Louis will win tonight and lose in Philly when next they meet.
The Flyers will be starting Elliott in net, unless some gametime decision changes that. Philadelphia will be without Carter Hart for two to three weeks with an abdominal stain.
In other Flyers roster news, they put former Blues forward Chris Stewart on waivers.
A win tonight would set a new club record for wins at home, which has stood since 1991. Coincidentally, the timeframe was quite similar as the last home win streak of that length came from January 26 through February 26.
Here is the Blues projected lineup from the team website:
Schwartz – Schenn – Sundqvist
Sanford – O’Reilly – Perron
Steen – Thomas – Bozak
MacEachern – de la Rose – Barbashev
Dunn – Pietrangelo
Bouwmeester – Faulk
Mikkola – Bortuzzo
No real changes to the lineup that saw the Blues beat the Ducks. Jordan Binnington is back in net after a solid performance by Jake Allen gave him some rest. If there was no other reason to play Binnington, reason enough is that he got his first ever NHL start and shutout against the Flyers back on January 7, 2019.
He has played better of late, but personally, I am still not as high on him as the coaching staff or some fans. Nevertheless, that is clearly a losing battle on my part.
My predictions are getting slightly better. I got another win right, but the scores are still a bit off.
Last time I predicted 4-2. The Blues won 4-1. At least I got the goals scored right.
With all that in mind, I think the Blues do manage to break the record for consecutive home wins. It isn’t a very important record, but potentially another one in the books for this outstanding team.
I’ll hedge my bets and say if Moose plays well, the Blues win 3-1. If he, or the team in front of him, is not quite as good, it’ll be 5-2 Blues.