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Blues at Flames Preview: Buch is back, Binnington in net?

The Blues’ kept pace with the rest of the Central’s best with a 3-1 win last night over the Canucks.

NHL: St. Louis Blues at Calgary Flames Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports

First off, apologies for the lack of GameDay Thread for last night’s win. One was scheduled, but it apparently didn’t feel the need to be published like I asked it to. Chorus has been wonky.

What hasn’t been wonky has been the Blues’ offense. Rolling again, the Blues scored three unanswered goals en-route to a 3-1 victory over the Vancouver Canucks and their fourth-tier backup, Michael DiPietro. Tanner Pearson opened the scoring for Vancouver just three and a half minutes in before Ville Husso settled into a groove. Husso’s 38 saves en route to the victory is a sign of two things. One, he is very clearly in the zone. Two, the Blues don’t need to allow 38 shots on net on either their backup goaltender or their starter. Regardless, I think Vladimir Tarasenko speaks for the team and the fans here on his assessment of Husso’s play:

“When somebody plays well, it always gives teammates positive emotions, but especially when a goalie is making these performances like almost every night.”

Chances are good that they’re going to have to shift to a different goalie performance after last night, as Jordan Binnington will more than likely be in net to close out the back-to-back. Defensive support will go a long way tonight, but so will some more shots on net - scoring three on 17 SOG is not a sure fire thing against Jakob Markstrom and the Calgary Flames. Markstrom has had a solid season so far and is keeping the Flames in the Pacific Division playoff race. A 2.25 GAA and a .924 save percentage isn’t anything for the Blues’ offense to turn their noses up at.

Of course, the Blues will have to contend with more than just Markstrom. Native son and frequent subject of trade speculation Matthew Tkachuk is tied for the team lead in goals with 18, and second with 37 points. Always dangerous Johnny Gaudreau, along with Andrew Mangipane and Elias Lindholm make up the bulk of the Flames offense - and when the Flames shoot, it’s often and it’s from tough areas. Binnington is going to have to have his awareness keyed up to 11 tonight regardless of who has that puck on their stick.

The Flames have had a day of rest since their 5-3 loss to the Edmonton Oilers on Saturday night. Between the loss and the rest, they’ll be ready to go tonight. If the Blues want to wrap up this brief road trip with a win before seeing Calgary again on Thursday night, their offense is going to have to keep clicking - but their defense is going to want to look into limiting some of those shots on net.