Blues battle Flames in Calgary
The Blues are getting rewarded for finding a way to win on the road.
St. Louis looks to grab a share of the Central Division lead this evening as they battle a Calgary Flames club hoping to avoid a fourth straight setback.
The Blues have compiled an excellent 26-4-4 record at home this season, but still sit below .500 on the road. However, they have opened up a key six-game road trip with shootout wins at Nashville and Winnipeg, upping their road record to 12-13-3 and getting within two points of idle Detroit for the top spot in the division.
St. Louis won for the fourth time in six games overall on Saturday with its 3-2 win over Winnipeg. David Backes and David Perron scored in regulation and Perron added the winner in the shootout. He beat the Jets' Chris Mason with a high backhander in the fourth round right after Jaroslav Halak came up with a big, close save on Andrew Ladd's shot.
Halak made 39 saves as the Blues picked up the victory despite getting outshot 41-16.
"I'll take the exposure that we have for the win in the game," Perron said. "It's two points that we get tonight and not the best game we've played but at the end of the year two points is two points. They dominated us pretty much in every aspect of the game. Obviously Jaroslav kept us in it."
Having recently lost Jamie Langenbrunner to a broken left foot, the Blues are also without Kris Russell because of concussion-like symptoms.
The Flames welcome the Blues to town for the finale of a four-game homestand that has produced two points and zero wins. Calgary began the stay with a 6-1 defeat at the hands of Edmonton and have since dropped consecutive shootouts to Phoenix and Philadelphia.
The Flames let two points slip away on Saturday as they got goals from Mark Giordano and Matt Stajan on their first two shots of the game, but couldn't hold a 3-0 lead versus the Flyers en route to a 5-4 shootout setback.
Alex Tanguay had a goal and an assist and Tom Kostopoulos also scored in the setback. Miikka Kiprusoff made 41 saves and yielded the deciding tally in the fifth round of the tiebreaker.
"It's no secret that we are having a tough time right now playing with the lead," said Flames forward Jarome Iginla. "The good part is we are getting it and having real solid first periods, but it slowly slips away from us."
Calgary's three straight losses gives the club its longest skid since an 0-4-1 drought from Dec. 29-Jan. 5 and leaves it three points out of a playoff spot. The Flames have lost four of five overall.
The Blues have won two of three versus the Flames this season after Calgary swept the four-game series last campaign. Calgary has won the past three encounters at home with St. Louis by an 8-2 margin.
Prior to tonight's game, Calgary will honor Hall of Famer Al MacInnis, making him the first inductee into the club's brand-new "Forever A Flame" program.
MacInnis, who has already had his No. 2 retired by the Blues, began unleashing his powerful slap shot in the NHL after being drafted 15th overall by the Flames in the 1981 draft. He notched 822 points in 802 games with Calgary before finishing his career with St. Louis.