Gameday: Blues vs. Flyers

Blues forward Robert Thomas (18) skates past Flyers defenseman Ivan Provorov (9). (Photo courtesy: Jeff Curry, USA TODAY Sports)

1/15: Blues/Flyers, Enterprise Center, 7pm CT – NBCSN

ST. LOUIS – The St. Louis Blues (30-10-7) can set a franchise record 10th straight win at home as they close out the homestand against the Philadelphia Flyers (24-16-6). St. Louis has been a perfect 4-for-4 so far in this homestand, with their most recent win coming against the Ducks on Monday, 4-1. Tyler Bozak scored his 11th goal of the season, giving him nine points in nine games, and Jake Allen became the 2nd all-time goaltender for St. Louis in Games Played, Wins, and Shutouts.

“I just try to keep fresh and stay sharp in practice,” Allen said. “It wasn’t really a busy game for me, but I tried to handle the puck as much as I could and get out of the net and talk and keep myself in the game. It felt pretty good.”

The Blues are still undefeated (in regulation) when they score first (21-0-5), as Alex Steen did after Robert Bortuzzo’s shot rebounded directly to him for his third goal in three games. “Night in and night out, we’re playing our game,” coach Craig Berube said. “That’s a good thing, for sure. I think we’re more consistent and sticking to what works.”

The Philadelphia Flyers took a wild win over the next-door rival Boston Bruins in a 6-5 shootout, after Brad Marchand made a rare misplay to lose the game. Philadelphia has defeated Boston twice in shootout victories, but they’ll need everything have tonight after yesterday’s news: goaltender Carter Hart was injured during yesterday’s practice, as Alex Lyon makes the trip to St. Louis as the relief. Brian Elliott could likely get the start in his old building tonight.

The Blues and Flyers faceoff at 7pm CT on NBCSN, and on radio at ESPN 101.1.

Gallant Fired

Shocking news came out of Vegas today just before 10am, as head coach Gerard Gallant was fired from the Vegas Golden Knights. Gallant was head coach since the Knight’s inception into the league, bringing them to the Stanley Cup in their very first year. The Knights made it to playoffs last season, but were eliminated in the first round after the controversial game 7 against the San Jose Sharks.

Now, the Knights are out of a playoff spot just three points away from the division lead, but have lost their last 4 straight games, getting outscored 16-7. Gallant’s lifetime stats with the club were 213-118-75 in the regular season.

To make matters even more interesting, former San Jose head coach Pete DeBoer was immediately hired as the new head coach of the Knights. DeBoer lead the Sharks to the playoffs every year in his tenure since 2015-16, leading the Sharks to the Cup Final in his first season. DeBoer had multiple 45+ win seasons with San Jose but was relieved of duties after a 15-16-2 start to the 19-20 season.

Gunnarsson In, Parayko Out

It was a tradeoff of defenseman after the game in Anaheim – Carl Gunnarsson was removed from IR and listed as ready to play, but Colton Parayko was placed on IR with an upper-body injury. Parayko has missed the last 5 games with an injury retroactive to January 2, and will miss his 6th game tonight. He has only missed 6 games in his 5-year career with the Blues, and the blueline will be missing him.

In his absence, however, Niko Mikkola has stepped up to the plate as a promising offensive defenseman. In his first four games in the NHL with St. Louis, Mikkola has registered one assist, six shots, and an average of 15:36 of ice time. Jake Allen had nothing but high praise for the 6’-4” left-shot defender.

“It’s impressive. I think every single game he’s gotten better, obviously a little bit of nerves the first game, but he’s earned a spot to stay in the lineup right now. He’s playing well, he’s confident, he’s big, he’s rangy, it’s good for him.”

Blue Notes

Jay Bouwmeester enters the top 100 players for all-time games played in tonight’s contest, passing former teammate Olli Jokinen… Vince Dunn played his 200th game in the win against Anaheim… Jake Allen surpassed Curtiss Joseph for 2nd in Blues’ all-time games played for goaltenders… Brayden Schenn has six assists in four games

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