Blues 2 Flames 1
CALGARY — Ty Conklin is the latest NHL goaltender to take advantage of the Calgary Flames’ sputtering offence.
Conklin made 34 saves for his third shutout of the season as the St. Louis Blues beat the struggling Flames 2-0 Monday.
“He did a phenomenal job for us,” said Blues coach Davis Payne. “You win hockey games on the road, you win close games, you win in situations like that when your goaltender performs like that.”
Conklin deflected the praise back to his teammates.
“We’re not a team that can get by with half the guys playing and half the guys watching,” Conklin said. “Guys scored timely goals, guys sacrificing in front of the net blocking shots killing penalties, Cam Janssen fighting twice, sticking up for the guys on the team. We had big efforts throughout our line-up.”
Patrik Berglund and David Perron scored for St. Louis (23-21-8). The Blues moved to within four points of the Flames and the Detroit Red Wings, who are tied for the eighth and final playoff spot in the Western Conference.
Five of Conklin’s stops came against Jarome Iginla, the Flames’ captain and leading scorer. Iginla has gone 11 games without a goal, with just two assists during that stretch.
Iginla had a chance to end his scoring drought when the puck came to him at the side of the net during an early power play, but it got caught up in his skates. He then fell to the ice, swiping the puck through the crease as he fell.
“We’re obviously in a little bit of a scoring drought. On a different day those chances go and we get a few,” said Iginla.
Trailing 1-0, Iginla had another great chance in the second period as the Flames broke in three on one. Iginla snapped a shot from the top of the faceoff circle that Conklin got a pad on. With the rebound lying dangerously in the crease, Curtis Glencross had his stick lifted from behind by the hard backchecking T.J. Oshie.
“That game probably goes 1-1 sooner than we would like,” said Payne. “But Osh makes a great play coming back there. We had more than just his but his was obviously crucial because it was a tap in if he’s not there.”
The Flames tried to get their offence going in the third period when they outshot the Blues 7-0 over the first 10 minutes, but they could not solve Conklin.
Rene Bourque had a partial breakaway on a power play, but he was stopped by Conklin. Seconds later, his deflection in front was also turned aside.
Perron then gave the Blues some insurance with his 15th goal at 11:21 of the third. Andy McDonald drew two Flames towards him then threaded a pass through the slot to Perron on the other side, who whipped a shot past Flames goalie Miikka Kiprusoff.
“We weren’t playing the way we wanted early in the third and on the bench, we could hear the coaches talk about putting more pressure on them and getting some battles down in the corner and we did that and we ended up scoring a second goal,” said Perron.
The Blues started off their three-game road trip through Western Canada the same way they ended their last one — with a victory. A month ago they beat Vancouver, Edmonton, and Calgary on the same trip for the first time in franchise history.
Calgary (26-20-6) has lost six in a row and is winless in its last seven. The Flames are 0-5-1 in their last six games at the Pengrowth Saddledome.
The sell-out crowd of 19,289 had little to cheer about all night, with Brian McGrattan’s rousing first period scrap with Janssen being one of the few highlights.
“First and foremost it’s disappointing to lose the game, but I’m not going to stand here and be negative because everyone else in the world (is),” said Flames coach Brent Sutter.
The disenchantment with the home side steadily grew as the game wore on with sporadic booing when the home side exited the ice after the game.
In their last 11 home games, the Flames have just 15 goals. They scored more than two goals just once during the stretch, and that night their third goal was into an empty net.
“We know it’s tough on our fans and we know it’s tough on Kipper. He’s playing great in there and we aren’t getting him any goals. You’ve got to do that to win,” Iginla said.
The game was scoreless until St. Louis got a lucky bounce and took a 1-0 lead with 1:18 left in the second period.
Berglund’s shot was going wide but it deflected in off Cory Sarich as he jostled in front with Brad Boyes.
Calgary’s struggling power play finished 0-for-2 and is 2-for-32 over the last 11 games.
Notes: Calgary began a stretch of 15 games in which they only play four games against teams currently in a playoff spot… Calgary LW Nigel Dawes (leg) did not play. Dustin Boyd started the game in Dawes spot on a line with Daymond Langkow and Rene Bourque, although coach Brent Sutter was mixing all his lines by the second period… Calgary D Jay Bouwmeester has gone 34 games without a goal. He has two goals on the season after scoring 15 times each of the past two seasons. Bouwmeester’s shots on goal are also down significantly. He had 182 shots each of the past two years and this year has just 86 shots through 52 games.