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Game Rush: Flames vs. Blues

by Mike Board / Calgary Flames





ST. LOUIS -- The Calgary Flames said they needed to get back to playing gritty hockey, scoring from the greasy spots on the ice.

In St. Louis on Tuesday, that's exactly what they did for two periods as Dustin Boyd, Daymond Langkow and Rene Bourque staked the Fames to a 3-2 lead over the Blues on Brett Hull night at the Scottrade Center. All three scored from in-and-around the net.
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However, a desperate Blues team battled back, scoring late in the second period on a power play and then continued to push throughout the third period when they outshot the Flames10-4.

The game-winner came from T.J. Oshie at 15:02 of the final frame when he wired a shot past Flames starter Curtis McElhinney as the Blues downed the Flames 4-3, handing Calgary a second loss in as many games on the road.

McElhinney, who was strong in the Flames net, made a great save on Paul Kariya in the second and another on Brad Boyes from in close with Keith Tkachuk on the doorstep in the third before Oshie got the game-deciding tally.

"In the third period we didn't have the push we needed," said Dustin Boyd, who put the Flames up 3-2 at 10:25 of the second period. "It was really a 0-0 hockey game going into the third period and we needed a push. We had it for a while."

Apparently Dion Phaneuf doesn't mind playing in St. Louis. Earlier this season he scored the game-winner on overtime in St. Louis and on Tuesday he was the player who sparked the Flames in the first period with a neat and timely pinch that led to Bourque's tally and a big, hit of the game on Kariya in the neutral zone.

Following a ceremony in which the Blues and Flames honoured Brett Hull for his induction into the Hall of Fame, the Blues took an early lead when David Backes scored on a screen shot from the point just 3:56  into the game. The Blues also got goals from Alex Steen and Andy McDonald.

"We didn't generate anything in the third period," noted head coach Brent Sutter. "I thought we played pretty good hockey in the first two periods. We just didn't have a lot of push in the third period."

The lead changed hands three times in this game.

The Flames now return home for three games before Christmas. The first is Thursday against the surprising Los Angeles Kings. Game time is 7:30 p.m. MST on Sportsnet & The FAN 960.

The Flames got back to playing the style of game that coaches had called for before the game -- an emotional, physical style. But, holding a 3-2 lead they allowed a late goal in the second period and didn't show the type of grit and determination through the third period, eventually giving up the game-winner to T.J. Oshie after losing the puck in the neutral zone.

 G Miikka Kiprusoff was given the night off so Curtis McElhinney got his fourth start of the season and his first since late November...D Cory Sarich and D Adam Pardy did not play because of injuries. The Flames dressed both their fighters, Brandon Prust and Brian McGrattan. That meant the lone healthy scratch was Freddie Sjostrom...Eric Nystrom played on the top line for the second game in a row...

Rene Bourque appears fully recovered from his injury earlier this season as he scored his second goal in as many games and now has 10 on the season. He also had an assist and has four points in the last two games...With an assist in this game Mark Giordano has points in four of his last five games...This is just the second time this season that the Flames have lost three games in a row...Flames forward Daymond Langkow led all shooters with five shots on net...

Both teams expected a physical game and they were correct. From the get-go there was plenty of the rough stuff. The big hit came courtesy of Dion Phaneuf who was in the neutral zone as Paul Kariya reached back for a stretch pass. Phaneuf rocked Kariya but could have sent the Blues forward to another planet as he showed some respect and let up just a tad at the last second on the hit, which Kariya never saw coming.
Flames scout Ron Sutter, who played with Brett Hull in St. Louis, represented the Calgary Flames as the Blues honoured Hull prior to the game for his induction into the Hall of Fame. The Flames were the team that drafted Hull and later traded him to the Blues. In fact, during the ceremony, there were a couple of 'Thank you, Calgary' from fans in attendance. Current Flames forward Craig Conroy, who also played with Hull in St. Louis, noted that Hull single-hanedly re-built hockey in St. Louis. On behalf of the Flames, Sutter presented Hull with a special piece of art depicting his time in Calgary from 1985 to 1988. Hull played 57 games for the Flames, scoring 27 goals and 24 assists for 41 points....F Brandon Prust wasted little time taking on Cam JannsenWith  in a first period fight. Why? Well, last season Janssen broke Prust's jaw with a neutral zone hit that many felt was a blindside. The Blues forward has plenty of reach, weight and height advtange on Prust but the feisty Flames winger held his own in this one...


Dion Phaneuf
A workhorse from start to finish
Daymond Langkow
Scores, strong effort all over the ice
Rene Bourque
Goal and an assist for second game in a row

Author: Mike Board

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