SUN Hockey Pool

Iginla's spirited in St. Louis

RANDY SPORTAK -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 1:18 PM ET

ST. LOUIS -- Finally, a close game went the Calgary Flames' way, thanks to their biggest stars stepping up.

Brilliance from goaltender Miikka Kiprusoff and a timely third-period goal by Jarome Iginla salvaged what was looking to be sure disaster for the Flames last night.

Suffering their worst losing skid since 2003, the Flames pulled out of it with a 3-2 win over the St. Louis Blues in a seesaw affair.

With the score tied and his team reeling, Iginla, on pace for a 50-goal season, became the hero with a powerplay goal with just over four minutes remaining. After gaining the puck along the boards, he worked his way to the slot before snapping the it past Manny Legace.

The Flames, losers of four in a row and seven of eight, improved to 4-7-2.

Desperately needing a strong first period to pull themselves out of their doldrums, the Flames delivered. At least through the first dozen minutes.

The underachieving squad came out of the gates outskating, outworking and -- most importantly -- outscoring their hosts.

Six minutes into the clash, Matthew Lombardi opened the scoring, something the Flames have done only four times this season.

Breaking down on a rush, Alex Tanguay fed a nifty pass to Lombardi, who was in flight, and he took advantage of the defenceman

backing in too far by pulling to his backhand and lifting a shot past Legace.

With the momentum on their side, the Flames extended that edge just past the period's midway point thanks to Byron Ritchie.

As Ritchie drove to the net, defenceman Andrew Ference fired a hard sharp-angled shot/pass that the quick forward neatly redirected into the top corner for his first goal of the season.

At the time, shots on goal were 8-1 in Calgary's favour.

From there, though, you'd think the visitors weren't sure how to play with a lead, with two costly miscues leading to Blues goals.

First it was Tony Amonte's inability to clear the puck while shorthanded that resulted in Bill Guerin's tally seconds after the infraction expired. Then, early in the second, Marcus Nilson sent the puck up the middle, only to have it picked off by Radek Dvorak and finished by Keith Tkachuk.

Buoyed with confidence, the Blues took control of the game in the final period, gaining a 13-4 edge on shots at one point.


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