SNAPSHOT: Calgary Flames drop rematch against St. Louis Blues

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The Calgary Flames realized these familiar foes would be better than what they showed earlier this week.

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Much better.

Were they ready for it, though? Maybe not.

The St. Louis Blues host beat the Flames 5-1 on Thursday, avenging a lopsided loss three nights prior at the Saddledome.

Call it the same.

“It was a different (Blues) team and a better team for sure. It wasn’t even close,” Flames assistant captain Matthew Tkachuk said. “But I think it was in a lot of it on us, to be honest with you. Just a few mistakes, goals in bad times… Just not our best tonight.

“We have to realize coming here that even though we beat them a few days ago and beat Columbus, we have to stay pretty even. I think the problem with us is that we go too high and we go too low. Finding that consistency is something we have to work on.

The Blues hit a low point in Monday’s mismatch at Cowtown. They were at the end of a road trip and on the wrong end of a 7-1 result that night.

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It was a very different story.

“They’re a veteran, good hockey club,” Flames captain Darryl Sutter said after his team fell to 20-13-6. “They had a unique game in Calgary, but if you look at their record, they’re on pace for about 110-115 points. You make mistakes, you’ll be put in a cell.

As if they weren’t motivated enough after their bombardment at the Saddledome, the Blues were probably watching Wednesday as the Flames racked up a franchise-record 62 shots in a runaway win at Columbus, the first stoppage of those two games in of them. – Night getaway.

That wasn’t going to happen against Thursday’s tough, responsible, rested and revenge-hungry opponent. The Flames were limited to 29 attempts on Ville Husso, with only Mikael Backlund able to put one past him.

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The hosts shut out Calgary’s top line of Johnny Gaudreau, Elias Lindholm and Tkachuk. It’s no easy feat — Gaudreau and Tkachuk have both come through six games with points.

Brandon Saad scored twice for the Blues, while Brayden Schenn, Jordan Kyrou and Ryan O’Reilly each added singles.

Schenn shot the potential winner of the match on a two-on-one in the first frame. After a great setup on Saad’s opener, he sold Jacob Markstrom on the likelihood of a pass and found daylight on the stick side instead.

“We probably had to be more desperate than what we encountered in today’s game,” Tkachuk said after the loss in his hometown of St. Louis. “They were obviously embarrassed and unhappy with the way they played in Calgary, so we knew their whole team was going to come out better. It wasn’t just about our line. It wasn’t just a pair. Our whole team was dominated tonight.

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Calgary Flames center Mikael Backlund scores a goal against St. Louis Blues goaltender Ville Husso at the Enterprise Center in St. Louis on Thursday, January 27, 2022. Photo by Joe Puetz /The Associated Press

BEST RETURN

Backlund feels like he’s really finding his groove over his past few games.

Good thing.

The Backlund boss is not one to sugarcoat, and Sutter reiterated ahead of Thursday’s clash that he expected a slight uptick from his second-row center.

“Well, he has to be better,” Sutter said after an optional morning practice. “We can’t have guys who play 15 to 18 minutes (per game) with three or four goals, especially in this position.

“I’m not going to dwell on that. I mean, he’s a good player and he has to produce.

Backlund escaped an 18-game drought at Columbus and had it buried back-to-back with a first-period pot at St. Louis — a sharp-angled shot after a pass from Andrew Mangiapane.

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He has now scored six times this season.

Before Sutter’s turn on the microphone during the morning media availability, Backlund, 32, told reporters he thought he’d been a more effective player — in both directions — over the past two weeks.

He may have caught wind of those comments from his coach as he was arguably the best in his group in the loss to the Blues. He recorded a record seven shots on goal and won 80% of his faceoffs.

“I always want more and I know I can play even better. But I think lately I’ve been playing hockey a little bit better,” Backlund said ahead of the contest. more with the puck, to carry it more in the middle, to make plays, to create more offensively and at the same time, to play solidly defensively. I didn’t give up a lot.

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“Just a better game from 200 feet.”

St. Louis Blues goaltender Ville Husso, defenseman Justin Faulk and forward Vladimir Tarasenko defend the net against the Calgary Flames at Enterprise Center in St. Louis on Thursday, January 27, 2021.
St. Louis Blues goaltender Ville Husso, defenseman Justin Faulk and forward Vladimir Tarasenko defend the net against the Calgary Flames at Enterprise Center in St. Louis on Thursday, January 27, 2021. Photo by Jeff Curry /USA TODAY Sports

OUT OF THE GLASS

Backlund was denied some glorious opportunities to add to his booty. He lost control of the puck as he tried a deke to his backhand on a shorthanded breakaway in the second stanza and smacked the post in the third … It was a very difficult night for the rookie Flames Adam Ruzicka, who learned a few games of big league lessons the hard way. Recently promoted from the team of taxis and recording his 11th career appearance at the NHL level, Ruzicka was guilty of a groan of a second gift of the evening Saad. The center of 22 years was able to win a battle on his own goal line, but inadvertently slapped the puck into the zone of the slot, where Saad made sure he would regret this change. To make matters worse, Robert Thomas Ruzicka continued in the third when he trapped Kyrou for beauty … There was not the kid. Sutter complained after the game “of individual errors of veteran players who have cost us goals against.” He also mentioned that there were signs of fatigue with his team contesting his second game in as many nights … While you typically see two guards in a subsequent set, Markstrom was between the pipes for the second straight night . He finished with 23 saves. Asked about the decision to stay with his favorite goalkeeper and let replacing Dan Vladar on the bench, Sutter said: “(Markstrom) did not have a lot of work. We have not played for a month. We have four days off in a few days. So pretty easy. The other guy has not won for a month. Pretty easy. We’re trying to win hockey games. It was not even a hard decision, it was a decision we made long ago “… The Flames will return home for Saturday’s match of the Hockey Day in Canada against the Vancouver Canucks the Saddledome (20 pm, CBC / Sportsnet 960 the Fan).

wgilbertson@postmedia.com

Twitter.com/WesGilbertson

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