Blues battle hard but fall short after Flames score two odd goals
CALGARY, Alberta — The Calgary Flames are becoming more confident as they keep getting rewarded for their improved play.
Dougie Hamilton broke a tie at 7:57 of the third period and Calgary beat the St. Louis Blues 2-1 on Wednesday night.
“Believe in what we’re doing and if we’re playing well, the wins are going to come,” Hamilton said. “We just have to stick with it and we’ve done that and got rewarded the last two games.”
After goalie Carter Hutton stopped Sean Monahan’s shot from the blue line, Ivan Barbashev was about to skate away with the rebound when Hamilton swung at the puck and, all in one motion, knocked it off the forward’s stick and into the net.
“I thought a shot was coming and went to the slot to see what would come from it and it bounced out. I just whacked at it. I didn’t even see it go in,” Hamilton said.
Michael Frolik also scored for Calgary.
Brayden Schenn had his team-leading 17th goal for St. Louis. The Blues have lost four of five.
“They outplayed us. I thought we gave up a lot of chances and from there we couldn’t generate anything,” said Hutton, who fell to 5-3-0. “No energy.”
St. Louis tied it at 1 on a power play 1:26 into the second. After hitting the blue line with speed, Schenn neatly stepped around flat-footed Troy Brouwer and fired a shot inside the post on Mike Smith.
“It just comes down to work ethic and wanting to win,” Schenn said. “You’re going to have those nights where it’s not going to be perfect and you’ve got to grind it out, and tonight we just didn’t have that effort to do it.”
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Calgary had a 33-22 edge in shots and has gone 11 games since it was last outshot.
“Huge win for our team. St. Louis is a good team,” Smith said. “We’re managing the puck a lot better than we have been. We’ve been doing it for quite some time now, but just haven’t gotten rewarded for it.”
The victory moved the Flames into third place in the Pacific Division, one point up on San Jose.
“We’re trying to accomplish something that’s going to help us win not only now, but in the playoffs when things do get tight,” coach Glen Gulutzan said.
Frolik opened the scoring at 7:58 of the first when he was set up alone in front by Mikael Backlund. Hutton made the initial stop, but the rebound went high in the air, deflected off a Blues player and just crossed the line before being cleared away by Tage Thompson.
Not ruled a goal originally, play continued on for about 45 seconds before the arena horn sounded and the Flames started celebrating with Frolik at the bench. The NHL had immediately reviewed play and determined the puck did go in.
Smith made 21 saves to improve to 14-11-3. His best save came halfway through the third when he jabbed out his blocker to deny Alex Steen from 20 feet out.
Hutton made 31 stops in his first start since his 48-save shutout of the Winnipeg Jets on Saturday.
Calgary played most of the game with five defensemen after Travis Hamonic exited in the latter part of the first period.
“It was a little bit precaution with his groin. We’ll see how he is tomorrow. We’re not ruling him out for Montreal,” Gulutzan said.
NOTES: The Blues went 1 for 4 with the man advantage, while Calgary’s power play was 0 for 4 to fall to 1 for 28 over the last seven games. … Jaromir Jagr (lower body) sat out for Calgary. The nagging injury has sidelined him for a total of 13 games. His spot was taken by Curtis Lazar. … The Blues dropped to 6-10-1 when giving up the first goal. They’re 16-2-1 when they score first.
Blues: At Edmonton on Thursday night.
Flames: Host Montreal on Friday night.