The St. Louis Blues will end a three-game road trip in Western Canada by facing a Flames team with tons of ties to St. Louis.
The St. Louis Blues head into Calgary on Saturday night looking to avoid a winless three-game road trip in Western Canada, which would be a major embarrassment considering that they entered the trip 3-0 on the season. The Blues suffered a 2-1 overtime loss in Vancouver on Tuesday, then snapped their unbeaten in regulation streak on Thursday with a 3-1 loss to the Edmonton Oilers.
The Blues have dealt with injuries on this trip, but as they enter the matchup against Calgary, center Jori Lehtera will be the only major contributor who’s expected to sit out. With star forward Jaden Schwartz and penalty-killing master Kyle Brodziak back in the lineup, injuries won’t be an excuse on Saturday.
Perhaps the biggest storyline heading into the Blues’ first matchup with the Flames is the group of players with Blues ties that will be facing the Note for the first time in a while. Any lasting friendships will have to go out the window on Saturday night, even for the two opposing goalies, who were considered to be very close friends while they played together in St. Louis.
Obviously the player that will intrigue the most Blues fans is 2016 playoff hero Brian Elliott, who was traded to Calgary at the draft for a second-round pick that was used to select forward Jordan Kyrou. However, it’s not even a certainty that Elliott will start Saturday; through three starts with the Flames, Elliott is 0-3 with a 4.72 goals-against average and an .839 save percentage. His backup, Chad Johnson, has vastly outperformed him through two starts, and he may be in line for another one against the Blues.
There are other Flames players who Blues fans will surely be excited to see, though. Forward Troy Brouwer, who carved himself into Blues history forever by scoring the game-winning goal in Game 7 of the Blues’ first-round playoff series victory over the Blackhawks last spring, signed with Calgary this offseason and has three goals through five games for the Flames.
18-year-old winger Matthew Tkachuk, the son of Blues legend Keith Tkachuk and the Flames’ first-round pick in this year’s draft, is currently in the midst of a nine-game tryout to determine whether he’ll stick in the NHL or go back to his junior team for another season and have his contract roll over for another year. Tkachuk, who was born in Scottsdale, Arizona but spent most of his childhood in St. Louis, has one goal through his first five NHL games.
Defenseman Dennis Wideman, who has now carved out a very long NHL career, originally came up through the Blues organization and played in St. Louis from 2005-07 before being traded for Brad Boyes. He’s been gone for nearly 10 years now and has played against the Blues many times, but since so many players end their NHL careers wearing the Blue Note, it’s always interesting to see a guy who’s carved out a long career for himself after leaving St. Louis.
There could be some adjustments in the Blues’ lineup for Saturday night’s game in Calgary. Here’s how it could look: