Game 42. The official start to the second half of the season for the Calgary Flames. It began on a somebre note as the team paid a pre-game tribute to Daryl K. 'Doc' Seaman, one of the Flames original owners who passed away this week after a battle with cancer.
The Flames were also sporting 'Doc' emblems on their helmets, something they will wear for the remainder of the season.
The game ended like the first half ended for the Flames, with a win. A fitting tribute to Seaman.
No easy win, but a win. Not a pretty win, but a win.
After the first period ended in a tie, the teams played to the same deadlock in the second during which the Blues had the better scoring chances. But both teams seemed more concerned with winning the fights -- there were two in the period, including a beauty between Eric Nystrom and Dan Hinote.
"They are tough. They are a team that plays hard," said Nystrom. "Part of the reason that there wasn't much flow was because they were shutting us down. They have a lot of physical guys who don't mind dropping the gloves."
The third period was all Flames as they crashed the net and the Blues zone. They outshot the Blues 15-4 in the final frame.
However, they were not rewarded until late in the period when a David Moss centering pass went off the stick of defender Jay McKee into the net to give Calgary a 2-1 lead.
There was some poetic justice in the goal -- the Blues goal in the first period was put in the Flames net by Calgary forward Curtis Glencross.
"I was just trying to go back-door with the pass," explained Moss. "It hit the d-man and went in. It was pretty indicative of the game. It was ugly. But we'll take it."
The Blues, a team battered by injuries and the worst in the Western Conference, weathered the Flames early flurry and then caught a break late in the first period.
At 16:56 the Flames made a big ooopsy in their own end. Dan Hinote put a harmless shot on Mikka Kiprusoff and, as he went to snage the puck and drag it behind the net, Glencross accidentally put it into his own net, giving the Blues a 1-0 and Hinote one of the easiest goals of his career.
However, Cam Janssen, the same player who drilled Brandon Prust with a hit, breaking the his jaw, attempted another such hit, this one on Andre Roy. The hit was late, a charge, very close to a head shot and, well, you get the picture. Janssen, who had fought Roy earlier in the game, received a minor penalty and the Flames went to work on the power play.
Mike Cammalleri scored his 16th of the season, a wrister over Chris Mason's shoulder, to tie the game 1-1 and make Janssen's penalty look all the more stupid. Cammalleri would add another, with a nifty dangle in the Blues zone, to ice the game at 3-1.
"It's a cliche but we are finding ways to win. The good thing is that only happens to teams that win a lot," said Cammalleri.
Miikka Kiprusoff, the workhorse Flames goalie, won his 26th game of the season and has now appeared in all but two of the Flames outings this season. What would you expect from Kiprusoff, who now owns an impressive 13-2-0-1 lifetime record against the St. Louis Blues?
With winger Todd Bertuzzi missing his second straight game because of a groin injury, Jim Vandermeer drew into the line-up. Vandermeer had missed 25 games with a broken foot. Normally a defenceman with some experience at forward, he played in the forward ranks on the fourth line with Eric Nystrom and Roy.
The Blues lost Keith Tkachuk in the second period to an apparent head injury after he collided with Andre Roy and Robyn Regehr in the Flames zone. Officially, he did not return to the game with an upper body injury.
The Flames won their seventh straight on home ice and are now 10-1-3 in their last 14 games.
The team will leave early Wednesday for San Jose where they play the top team in the Western Conference on Thursday.