CALGARY (CP) - They almost blew it, but shootout goals from Alex Tanguay and Jarome Iginla rescued a much-needed win for the Calgary Flames.
Up against a pesky St. Louis team, Calgary saw the Blues rally back from a two-goal third period deficit and then nearly win it overtime before the Flames escaped with the 5-4 victory.
"You don't want to win a game 5-4 in a shootout, that's for sure, but we'll take the points right now and run," Tanguay said.
After the teams exchanged misses, Tanguay's quick wrist shot over Jason Bacashihua's glove put Calgary up 1-0 in the shootout. After Miikka Kiprusoff denied Doug Weight's deke attempt, Iginla clinched it with a similar-looking wrist shot to Tanguay's, only this one beating the Blues rookie goaltender high on the blocker side.
Kristian Huselius scored his 30th goal of the season and added three assists to pace the offence for Calgary (37-22-10). David Moss, Daymond Langkow, and Dion Phaneuf also scored.
Lee Stempniak, with a pair, Christian Backman and Peter Cajanek replied for St. Louis (29-29-11). Brad Boyes had three assists to extend his point-scoring streak to five games (two goals, six assists).
It was an important victory for the Flames who pull within one point of Minnesota, Dallas, and San Jose, who are all tied for fifth place in the Western Conference. Calgary also climbs to within three points of the Northwest Division-leading Vancouver Canucks.
"You've got to give credit to (the Blues), they never stopped working hard and they came back and came back after us," Huselius said. "We thought it was over when we got the 4-2 lead."
The Blues outshot the Flames 6-0 in overtime but could not beat Miikka Kiprusoff, who was at his best in the final 90 seconds as Calgary survived a dangerous Blues power play. Kiprusoff's best stop came in the waning seconds when he jabbed out his pad to stop Stempniak's one-timer.
"We had great chances but Kiprusoff made an unbelievable save with just three or four seconds left," Weight said. "Kiprusoff's a great goalie and he deserves a lot of the credit."
The Blues refusal to quit say Weight is indicative of how the team's played since Andy Murray took over behind the bench on Dec. 11. Since then, the Blues are 22-12-7.
"We came back a couple times in the toughest building in the league to play in," Weight said. "Since Andy has taken over, this team is top five in the league. We believe now that every game we go out, we're going to be in it until the end and it makes for a great feeling coming to the rink these days."
Blues captain Dallas Drake echoed Weight's comments about the turnaround under Murray.
"We have a lot of character in here and we have a lot of young guys that are really stepping it up and playing well for us. We don't have any guys that are going to quit and it all starts behind the bench with our coach," said Drake.
Tied 2-2 entering the third period, Calgary surged in front to the delight of the sell-out crowd of 19,289 on Phaneuf's power-play goal at 3:16 and Langkow's goal at 6:44.
However, Cajanek got the Blues back within one 22 seconds later and Stempniak drew the Blues even at 10:06.
Trailing 1-0 after 20 minutes, Moss tied for Calgary at 2:28 converting Matthew Lombardi's centring pass.
Huselius put the Flames up 2-1 banking a shot off the back of Bacashihua's leg from behind the net.
With the goal, Huselius joins Iginla as Calgary's second 30-goal scorer for the season. The Flames have not had two 30-goal scorers since the 1993-94 season when they had four players reach that plateau - Gary Roberts (41), Robert Reichel (40), Theoren Fleury (40), and Joe Nieuwendyk (36).
Bacashihua made his first start since Dec. 13 for St. Louis and made some sensational saves in finishing the night with 30 saves.
Kiprusoff finished with 29 stops.
Notes - Calgary C Craig Conroy sat out with an upper body injury. Conroy was one of the hottest Flames with five points (3 goals, 2 assists) in his last three games... The Flames have won the last seven meetings between the two teams... Kiprusoff collected his 100th career win as a Calgary Flame... St. Louis is last in the league with 14 power-play goals on the road. No other team has less than 20... Dating back to last season, Bacashihua has gone 15 games - 10 of them starts, since last winning. During that span, he is 0-8-3. His last victory was Apr. 9, 2006.