The St. Louis Blues looked sluggish in a 4-1 loss to the Calgary Flames on Tuesday at Scottrade Center. Can they rebound on Thursday against their former fierce rivals?
For a St. Louis Blues team that has looked surprisingly complete during the early regular season despite several major offseason losses, Tuesday night’s loss to the Calgary Flames was definitely the most concerning game of the season to date. The Blues had just 24 shots on goal against the goalie they traded this offseason, Brian Elliott, and Kevin Shattenkirk’s third-period goal was the only thing that saved the Blues from being shut out. Carter Hutton allowed four goals on 30 shots, and the Blues clearly didn’t have as much of an edge to their game as the Flames did.
After that disappointing effort, the Blues will attempt to rebound against a team that was once their fiercest rival: the Detroit Red Wings. After a few seasons during which they’ve still been quite competitive, but have been a bit closer to the middle of the pack, the Red Wings look like they could become one of the Eastern Conference’s elite teams again in 2016-17.
Center Dylan Larkin is among the league’s elite, free agent pickup Frans Nielsen has done a good job of taking over for the retired Pavel Datsyuk, and the Wings have gotten surprising early-season productivity from offseason dumpster dive Thomas Vanek (eight points in seven games) and 29-year-old Darren Helm, who’s long been considered a face-off specialist with slightly below average offensive skills, but has six points in seven games this year.
Thursday could be the first time that the Blues have faced forward Steve Ott since he left the Blues to sign with the Red Wings this summer. The agitator has played in four of the Wings’ first seven games (including the past three), collecting one assist while piling up 10 penalty minutes.
Meanwhile, here’s a look at how the Blues’ lineup is expected to look on Thursday: