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Flames end Blues' streak with 3-1 win

by Aaron Vickers /
CALGARY -- Thanks to Miikka Kiprusoff, the Calgary Flames gave their fans a treat on Halloween theme night at the Scotiabank Saddledome.

Kiprusoff stopped 28 shots and rookie center Roman Horak added a goal and an assist as the Flames downed St. Louis 3-1, snapping the Blues' three-game winning streak and earning back-to-back wins for the first time this season.

As was the case in Wednesday's 4-2 victory against Colorado, the Flames' goaltender was the best player in a red jersey.

"I thought it was all Kiprusoff," Flames forward Tom Kostopoulos admitted. "The game could've been totally different. I thought St. Louis outplayed us for most of it and it could've been 5-0 at one point. He stood on his head. He kept us in it and gave us time for us forwards to generate offense."

That offense came in the form of Horak, who made it 2-0 at 12:16 of the third period after taking a pass in the slot from Curtis Glencross and slipping the puck through Blues goaltender Brian Elliott's pads in what became the game-winning goal.

"I don't know how it snuck through so I'll have to watch it," Elliott said. "Whenever your team needs that one stop to keep in the game, that's the one you want to save."

It was the second consecutive multi-point game for Horak, who came from the Rangers in an offseason trade that sent 2009 first-round pick Tim Erixon to New York.

"He's really stepped up," Kostopoulos said of the 20-year-old. "He's playing with confidence and he's scoring right now. It's nice to see. We all knew he was talented but to see him play with that confidence is really good."

The Blues finally solved Kiprusoff just 12 seconds after Horak's goal when Patrik Berglund scored through a screen. But Olli Jokinen added an empty-netter to seal the victory for the Flames, who improved to 4-4-1 overall and 3-1-1 on their six-game homestand.

Though the crowd was littered with Halloween costumes, there was nothing scary about the play of Kiprusoff in the middle period, turning aside several quality Blues scoring chances.

After a tight-checking opening period, Kiprusoff made a dazzling glove save off Vladimir Sobotka 24 seconds into the middle period and duplicated the feat six minutes later, robbing Chris Porter.

His best sequence came at 6:18. After Jamie Langenbrunner walked out from behind the net untouched, Kiprusoff stared him down with a pad save at the top of the crease. Jason Arnott picked up the rebound but couldn't put it behind the Flames goaltender on two attempts from within four feet of the net.

Those saves gave Calgary the momentum, allowing the Flames to generate pressure that eventually led to them getting on the board first. Kostopoulos beat Elliott over the glove from the slot after taking a feed from below the goal line by Tim Jackman at 14:45 for the game's first goal.

"That's part of their game, the guy floating in that area and taking a one-timer," Elliott said. "It's something we knew was coming. We'll have to do a better job next time."

Kiprusoff was equally convincing in the third.

With Flames' defenseman Jay Bouwmeester in the box for holding, Kiprusoff stopped Matt D'Agostini on a pair of shots before robbing T.J. Oshie on the doorstep twice, first making a right pad save and again during a scramble in the crease, a play that forced Giordano to take a cross-checking penalty.

The Flames killed off the 5-on-3 after Kiprusoff blockered away an Alex Steen blast.

"There was some traffic there and they did get that 5-on-3 too so as a goalie you have to play deeper and trust your reflexes," Kiprusoff said. "They were coming hard there but we were able to hang on."

That penalty kill was the difference, according to Blues coach Davis Payne.

"It's a small amount of execution that makes a difference there," Payne said. "We had a couple clean looks and we forced Kiprusoff to make a couple stops on a long shot with traffic then a tight play we had a couple whacks at. When it's going like it is, the power play has to continue to work and to find a way to be a little bit sharper, a little bit more determined."

The loss was Elliott's first on the season after four wins.

"Obviously you want a better result any time you lose but their goaltender played pretty well down there and we didn't bury on a couple chances that we had and they did," he said. "That's how the game goes. I think we worked pretty hard and we can take positives from that."

The victory gives the Flames the opportunity to take 9 of a possible 12 points when they close out of their homestand Tuesday against the Vancouver Canucks.

"Our game has been good the last few games and we just have to keep improving," Kiprusoff said.

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