Arnott leads Blues past Flames
Monday, 02.27.2012 / 11:55 PMCALGARY
-- The St. Louis Blues
certainly weren't broke, so there was no reason to fix them.
With his team fourth in the League in points with 83 heading into Monday's trade deadline, St. Louis general manager Doug Armstrong wasn't about to tinker with success, standing pat and keeping his roster intact heading into the final quarter of the season.
Paced by a pair of goals from Jason Arnott
, the Blues repaid Armstrong by beating the Calgary Flames
3-1 just hours later at the Scotiabank Saddledome. The win was the third straight – all on the road – for the Blues, and 31st in a row dating back to last season when scoring three or more goals.
"We have a sound team," Arnott said. "It's hard when you have the chemistry going and everybody's contributing, it's hard to break that up and bring somebody new in and Doug probably felt the same way. We've got a lot of depth and a lot of great players in here so hopefully we can continue it."
The win moves St. Louis into a tie with the Detroit Red Wings with 85 points atop the Central Division and hands Calgary its fourth consecutive loss – all on home ice.
"I don't think at this time of year there's time for disappointment," Flames forward Blake Comeau
said. "We've got to be quick learners and maybe try to realize some things that we're doing that's not giving us the success that we had before. There's not one guy in here that doesn't want to win. If we just bring that hard work and that hard work and that competitiveness and all pull together to turn this thing around, then we'll be alright."
It was the Flames, who also remained idle on deadline day, who struck first in the opening 20 minutes.
After picking up the puck in the neutral zone, Cory Sarich
tapped it Olli Jokinen
, who found Curtis Glencross
in the slot. Glencross then snapped a shot past Blues starter Jaroslav Halak
for his 19th on the season at 5:11 to make it 1-0.
The Blues wouldn't be silenced for long, though. Streaking down the wing, St. Louis captain David Backes
fired a shot that eluded Flames goaltender Miikka Kiprusoff
to tie the game 1-1 at 14:13.
With Mark Giordano
in the penalty box for holding, Arnott scored just his second goal since a two-goal outing on Jan 12. From just inside the hash marks, Arnott squeaked a shot through a partially screened Kiprusoff with just 39.6 seconds remaining in the period to take the 2-1 lead.
"(I) just tried to fire it on net," Arnott said. "It was a great screen by Bergie (Patrick Berglund) and it just found the net."
The Blues, who have outscored opponents 18-9 through 40 minutes in their previous eight games, added to that total in the second.
Just 1:32 into the period, Kiprusoff was forced to blocker away a Kevin Shattenkirk
blast from the high point after Flames forward Matt Stajan
batted down a clearing attempt in his own zone.
But Kiprusoff couldn't turn away Arnott for his second goal of the game. Just 12 seconds into a Scott Hannan
interference call, Andy McDonald
’s hard pass was redirected by Berglund. Kiprusoff made the initial stop but Arnott put home a rebound to make it 3-1 6:21 in.
"Mac told Bergie and I to switch positions on that one," Arnott said. "Mac made a great shot-pass to Bergie and the rebound was just lying there and I put it in."
Backes had a glorious opportunity to give the Blues a three-goal lead near the midway mark of the period. After stripping a Flames defender for the puck at the opposing blue line, T.J. Oshie
fed Backes a pass that he one-timed over a down-and-out Kiprusoff and over the net.
Kiprusoff continued to preserve the two-goal margin in the third. With a penalty to Backes expiring eight minutes into the period, McDonald broke in on a partial breakaway but couldn't beat the Flames' goalie between the legs.
Trying desperately to get back to within one, Calgary pulled Kiprusoff. With a lengthy 6-on-5 attempt to close out the game, the Flames – who have been outshot in 11 consecutive contests – couldn't get within striking distance.
The loss keeps the Flames three points behind the Dallas Stars for the eighth and final playoff spot in the Western Conference. With games on the road against the Phoenix Coyotes and Anaheim Ducks later in the week, the Flames have an opportunity to play teams in the same hunt.
"We have to win," Giordano said. "These next two are teams that we're fighting with. You can gain a lot of ground by winning head-to-head games at this time of year."