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Team opens four-game road swing with loss in St. Louis

by TY PILSON @typilson /

ST. LOUIS - The effort was there but the execution continued to be a struggle.

The game plan hasn't changed of late for the Flames:

Get the first goal in a game.

Capitilize on more of their chances.

They were unable to do either Thursday night against the defending Stanley Cup champs, falling 5-0 to the Blues.

They have now lost six straight, dropping to 10-12-3.


Video: Brendan Parker wraps up tonight's game




COMING SOON: Game Over with Brendan Parker

COMING SOON: Post-Game Interviews


COMING SOON: Infographic



The chances were there again in this game, the opportunities created, but getting the puck over the goal-line remained an uphill battle as the team was held goalless for the third time in their last four games.

The team held a players' only meeting in the locker-room after the defeat.

David Rittich got the start, ending the night with 26 saves as his team outshot the Blues 40-31.

A goalie's best friend is the iron and that was certainly the case early in the contest.

Less than a minute-and-half after puck drop, Colton Parayko set up shop to the right of Rittich and feathered a perfect pass cross-ice to Ivan Barbashev, who got off his shot before Rittich was able to get back across the crease.

Staring at an open net, the Blues forward put it up and off the cross-bar on his team's first shot of the tilt.

Like they say, you have to be good to lucky.

Rittich showed off that good part a few minutes later.

Like, smack-your-forehead, did-you-just-see-that type of good.

Blues sniper Jaden Schwartz managed to sneak in behind the Flames defence and parked himself near the top of the blue paint. An alert Brayden Schenn quickly got him the puck, Schwartz turning and trying to put it far-side but Rittich kicking out his left pad to deny him for a 10-bell stop. 

The rebound, however, went straight out and onto the stick of Tyler Bozak as he came flying into the slot, snapping a shot that Rittich gloved - able to recover from the first save in lightning-quick fashion while still down on the ice.

Zach Sanford opened the scoring at 12:07, skating the puck into Calgary's zone and dropping a pass for Robert Thomas, who spun a few circles on the left side of the ice before feeding it back to Sanford who was near the top of the faceoff circle, dropping to one knee as he one-timed it home.

Sanford nearly got his second later after a turnover gave him another great chance, this time in tight, but Rittich was there to slam shut the pads on the five-hole attempt.

A weird bounce sent Oskar Sundqvist off on a breakaway in the second period, snapping a wrister that Rittich got a piece of with his glove but it had enough left to skim over and float into the back of the cage at 6:23 to give St. Louis a two-goal cushion.

Blues defenceman Vince Dunn laid a big hit on Andrew Mangiapane later in the frame, Zac Rinaldo taking exception and grabbing him leading to a dog pile of players near the boards. Rinaldo was given a roughing penalty, sending the Blues to the powerplay.

They made good on it 24 seconds in.


Video: Condensed Game: Flames @ Blues



Blues captain Alex Peitrangelo sent a pass to David Perron who stepped into a slapshot from the faceoff circle that found twine for his 10th tally of the season.

The shots at that point were 23-22 Calgary. The score was 3-0 St. Louis.

Fighting hard to get on the board, Sean Monahan lost the handle in tight on Jordan Binnington and not long after, Johnny Gaudreau was denied on a partial breakaway trying to go up and over the goalie's glove on a backhand.

In the final minute of play in the second stanza, Mikael Backlund took a shot that beat Binnington low farside, but not his post.  

Shots after 40 minutes: 33-24 for the Flames.

Sundqvist notched his second of the night in the third period, while Dunn also scored.


Video: "We're frustrated, obviously"

 Video: "We gotta be better"

Video: "We're going to dig out of this together"



The Flames released an update on TJ Brodie yesterday, saying he was back on the ice and skating. He did not accompany the team on this trip. Click here for the full statement ... The Blues signed former Flames forward Troy Brouwer to a one-year deal on Wednesday. Brouwer skated yesterday morning but did not play last night ... The Flames now have a record of 5-9-3 against Western Conference opponents, and 2-4-2 mark against the Central Division ... Recent callups Tobias Rieder and defenceman Alexander Yelesin (who wore No. 45 in the warmup skate) did not play last night ... Have you read our Flames Extra on Milan Lucic taking his family back to Serbia this past summer, an important opportunity to immerse himself, his wife and their kids in his culture? Click here to read ... It was '90s retro night at the game, with the Blues wearing their blue and red jerseys with gold numbers and trim. It was the first time they had worn the alternate silks this season.


Tweet from @NHLFlames: Brods! Earlier today, TJ Brodie hit the ice for a solo skate. He continues to go through medical evaluations and the #Flames are optimistic he will re-join the team in the near future.



Here are the lines and D pairs to start last night's game (starters in bold):


Johnny Gaudreau  - Sean Monahan  - Elias Lindholm

Matthew Tkachuk  - Mikael Backlund  - Michael Frolik

Milan Lucic  - Derek Ryan  - Dillon Dube

Zac Rinaldo - Mark Jankowski  - Andrew Mangiapane



Mark Giordano  - Rasmus Andersson

Noah Hanifin  - Michael Stone

Oliver Kylington  - Brandon Davidson



David Rittich

Cam Talbot



The Flames hop a plane for a short flight to Philadelphia, where they face the Flyers in a Saturday-afternoon matinee (morning back in Calgary at 11 a.m. MTN, TV: Sportsnet West, Radio: SPORTSNET960 The Fan).

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