CALGARY-- Five Takeaways from the Calgary-St. Louis game February 27, 2011 at the Scotiabank Saddledome.
The Flames opened this critical home-and-home series with the Blues with a grind-it-out 1-0 win against a team that is chasing them in the playoff hunt.
David Moss, with his 15th of the season, scored at 5:39 of the third period to break a scoreless deadlock.
Late in the game the Blues had a goal disallowed when David Backes knocked a puck out of the air with a high stick to Alex Pietrangelo who stuffed it behind Kiprusoff. Initially it was ruled a goal but the Flames argued immediately and, after the officials met, the goal was waved off. Moments late Patrik Berglund rang one off the post.
The Blues pulled netminder Ben Bishop with 1:28 left in the game but the Flames buckled down defensively to keep the Blues off the scoreboard and collect a very valuable two points.
Miikka Kiprusoff collected his fifth shutout of the season, making 27 saves.
TAKEAWAY ONE: Mark Giordano
Early in the first period, defenceman Mark Giordano is battling for a puck along the wall in the Blues zone when he is whacked in the face by BJ Crombeen who was errantly flailing at the puck. Giordano left the ice bleeding from the face as Crombeen was assessed a double minor.
We've seen this before and never doubted that a warrior like Giordano would return to the game. We've seen him do it a couple of times already this season. He left the bench for repairs and was back before 10 minutes of play had elapsed.
The double-minor, while painful for Giordano, was a golden opportunity for the Flames to put the visitors on their heels but they failed to do so. Although the Flames created a couple of chances, that first four minutes with the power play looked a little disjointed and out of sync.
TAKEAWAY TWO: Alex Tanguay
Alex Tanguay, the slick-passing Flames forward played in his 800th career game against St. Louis. Signed as a free agent in the off-season Tanguay has proven to be the perfect fit for Jarome Iginla on the Flames top line. After getting just 37 points last season in Tampa, he has found his offensive game this year -- he already has 47 points in 60 games this season, including 31 helpers.
However, on this night the top trio were not able to get anything going through the first 40 minutes so head coach Brent Sutter juggled the lines and Iginla started the period with Olli Jokinen and Curtis Glencross. Tanguay and center Brendan Morrison were joined by David Moss.
It paid immediate dividends as Tanguay made a neat, tight, flip pass to Moss who buried a snapshot at 5:39 of the third to give the Flames the only goal they would need.
TAKEWAY THREE Greg Nemisz:
Rookie Greg Nemisz, called up from the Abbotsford Heat (AHL) on Saturday was looking to get into his first National Hockey League game. The former first-round pick, and winner of two Memorial Cup with the Windsor Spitfires, was more than a little pumped.
"I want to contribute any way I can. I have to bring some energy and some spark," he said followin the mornign skate.
However, the debut has been delayed. When Niklas Hagman (flu) and Tim Jackman (upper body) were deemed ready to play at gametime, Nemisz found himself as the odd man out. He may travel with the team to St. Louis for the back end of this home-and-home series with the Blues and a game in Chicago.
Jackman, whose eye was swollen after a fight Friday, was still showing the war wound with a very, very black eye but gritted it out to play against St. Louis. That's twice for him this season -- he didn't miss a game after having his nose broken in a fight in Columbus.
TAKEAWAY FOUR: Chris Stewart
The Blues and Avalanche shocked the trade world by exchanging some young players last week. The Blues acquired F Chris Stewart and defenceman Kevin Shattenkirk abd a conditional second round pick for Erik Johnson, Jay McClement and a conditonal first round draft pick. Johnson was a first overall pick of the Blues while Stewart is only 24 and Shattenkirk is just 22.
So far the impact player in the trade has been Stewart -- he had three, two-goal games for the Blues in his first five games, the fastest start by any scorer in Blues history, including Bret Hull, who had five goals in five games.
Earlier this season, while with the Avs, Stewart had a hat trick in a 6-5 win at the 'Dome.
On Sunday the Flames kept the hot Stewart off the scoresheet. He had two shots, one a dangerous one on a third period power play.
TAKEAWAY FIVE: The playoff implications
In a tight playoff race every point counts and the Flames needed points from this game.
With the win they now have 73 points and moved into sixth in the Western Conference. They actually began the game in ninth as Nashville and Chicago, who both won, moved ahead of the Flames with 72 points.