SUN Hockey Pool

Phan-tastic!

STEVE MACFARLANE -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 1:35 PM ET

The super rookie made sure the Calgary Flames could say 'Mission accomplished.'

Dion Phaneuf scored a pair of goals, including the overtime winner, as the Flames can breathe easy, heading into the Olympic break first in the Northwest Division following a 3-2 win over the St. Louis Blues last night.

But it wasn't easy.

Phaneuf's OT winner on the powerplay finally put away the pesky Blues, whose season-high winning streak ended at three in front of 19,289 at the Saddledome.

"It was great to see that go in," said captain Jarome Iginla, who is one of three Flames sacrificing rest in order to compete at the Winter Games in Turin next week. "He's got a big shot. I don't think anybody can stop that. Especially that overtime goal."

Brian Boucher kept rebounds to a minimum and finished with 20 saves for his first win as a Flame.

The Blues trailed 2-1 at the start of the third period but quickly tied the game when defenceman Dennis Wideman's point shot ricocheted off Mike Glumac and through Boucher's legs. Flames defenceman Andrew Ference appeared to sweep the puck away before it crossed the goal-line but it banked hard off Boucher and into the net.

Patrick Lalime played well most of the night -- especially during a powerplay late in the third period -- while making his first start since being recalled from the minors Feb. 1. But he showed flashes of inconsistency in the first period which demonstrated why the Ottawa Senators soured on the goaltender and why the Blues sent him to AHL Peoria in December.

Early in the first, Lalime weathered the storm as the Flames began their attack.

His team rewarded him by taking the lead almost immediately.

Wideman opened the scoring 3:26 into the game after sneaking past the Flames defenders, collecting a pass and making a nifty backhand move before roofing the puck over Boucher.

But then Lalime quickly allowed a softie -- if you can call a Phaneuf slapper soft -- that tied the game at one, 1:23 later.

The rookie defenceman was happy to contribute but was even more delighted with the big picture.

"It's nice for them to go in but the two points we got are a lot bigger than the accolades," said Phaneuf. "It was a big goal of ours to go into the break in first place, right from the first day of training camp."

Ference and Mike Leclerc teamed up to give Calgary a 2-1 lead late in the second period. Leclerc deked around Blues d-man Eric Weinrich before having the puck poked away from his blind side. It went right to Ference at the point and, with Leclerc providing a screen, the Flames blueliner sent a rocket to the top corner of the Blues net.

Ference, like his powerplay partner Phaneuf, was more excited about the significance in the standings.

"A sign of maturity for a team is reaching your goals and being in first place at the break was a goal of ours," he said.

"It's not a small accomplishment with our division. It means a lot."

- - -

CALGARY FLAMES: 3

ST. LOUIS BLUES: 2

OVERTIME


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