SUN Hockey Pool

Red-hot scoring lifts Blues

Calgary Flames' Curtis McElhinney watches St. Louis Blues' Paul Kariya prepare to take a shot....

Calgary Flames' Curtis McElhinney watches St. Louis Blues' Paul Kariya prepare to take a shot. (REUTERS/Peter Newcomb)

RANDY SPORTAK

, Last Updated: 8:28 AM ET

ST. LOUIS -- Seems appropriate on Brett Hull night the St. Louis Blues would find some scoring touch.

The Calgary Flames paid the price for a mini-outburst -- by Blues standards -- from the lowest scoring team in the Western Conference with a 4-3 defeat which has them on a three-game losing skid.

"We had a good first two periods and it's not a bad position to be in, tied on the road and starting with the powerplay, and we had four shots (in the third period)," said captain Jarome Iginla.

"We didn't play nearly enough in their zone, we played in ours, were chasing it around and looked slow.

"That's not our team. We're a quick team, we're a very competitive team, and we had that for two periods. Third periods, we've been pretty solid this season and like that position. Today we didn't take advantage of it."

Calgary withstood the energy in the Scottrade Center from the Blues and the sellout crowd of 19,150 which came from honouring Hull, the 700-goal scorer, for his induction into the Hockey Hall of Fame last month.

Among the festivities was the unveiling of Hull's personal all-Blues squad of former teammates, which ran the gamut from Wayne Gretzky to Kelly Chase.

T.J. Oshie's goal with five minutes remaining broke a 3-3 deadlock and capped a night for Hull and his dignitaries, while keeping the Flames in their slump.

"It's still a 3-3 hockey game with under six minutes left, and to get a goal scored against you off something created in the neutral zone is not a good goal to give up in a tight game," said Flames head coach Brent Sutter.

"We never had a whole lot of push in the third. We played a pretty good hockey game in the first two periods. Maybe it's part to do with the schedule, they haven't played a couple of days, but it's a disappointing loss."

Calgary falls to 19-10-4, while the Blues (14-12-5) sit 14th in the Western Conference.

Goals by Rene Bourque, Daymond Langkow and Dustin Boyd spotted the Flames a 3-2 edge, but they couldn't hold it.

Even though they went into the second intermission because of Alex Steen's powerplay tally, the visitors were in a perfect spot.

However, they couldn't convert on a powerplay to start the final frame.

"We couldn't bring it home," said defenceman Robyn Regehr. "We didn't make the push we wanted to, we have the last number of weeks we've been able to on the road. So we got caught with turnovers and playing in our zone."

David Backes and Andy McDonald also scored for the Blues.

Flames goalie Curtis McElhinney took the loss despite a 30-save performance, which will put him more under the gun to succeed when spelling off No.-1 netminder Miikka Kiprusoff, but his teammates were quick to come to his defence, at least after the game.

"A breakaway goal, a shot right under the bar. We're there in the third period, and he gave us a chance," Iginla said. "They had powerplays, a five-on-three. We'd take the position he put us in every night."

However, the real position the Flames are in right now is a rut, with just one win in five outings.

"It's nothing difficult," Sutter said. "It's something mentally right now. There's been so much talk about not scoring goals, and all of a sudden we're doing things we shouldn't be doing and pushing in certain situations instead of playing our game."

RANDY.SPORTAK@SUNMEDIA.CA


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