Blues down listless Flames
RANDY SPORTAK, QMI Agency
|Blues forward Andy McDonald battles against Flames forward Jarome Iginla at the Scotiabank Saddledome in Calgary, Alta., Feb. 27, 2012. (AL CHAREST/QMI Agency)
CALGARY - The Calgary Flames have to be wishing for a do-over at the trade deadline.
Only a few hours after Flames GM Jay Feaster failed to make any trades — despite watching his team fall further out of the playoff picture with each passing day — the team responded in the worst way possible, with a 3-1 loss to the St. Louis Blues Monday night.
The disappointment for the Flames goes well beyond the fact it was a fourth-straight defeat, all coming during a critical homestand in which the team managed only a pair of loser points from extra-time defeats.
Instead of showing appreciation to the organization for not creating any upheaval in their lives with a trade, despite the obvious need to acquire draft picks and prospects for the franchise’s future health, the players responded with a listless and uninspired effort against the surging Blues.
To give credit where it’s due, the Blues deservedly moved to top spot in the Central Division with a win earned by out-skating the hosts and winning seemingly every battle for loose pucks.
However, the Flames continue to struggle with the ramping up in the level of play which happens at this time of year.
They had yet another outing with a steady stream of turnovers, broken plays, too little offensive push and soft defensive play, at least until the frantic push in the final minutes.
So much for being a team willing to do all it can to climb back into the playoff spot it held for a few days prior to this skid, which drops its record to 28-24-11
In keeping with the theme of this homestand, the Flames took the lead for the third straight outing, only to lose it.
Just over five minutes into the affair which featured Al MacInnis being honoured by the Flames for his 13 seasons with the franchise, Curtis Glencross gave the announced Saddledome sellout crowd of 19,289 reason to cheer when he scored his first goal since returning to action after missing five weeks due to a knee injury.
Cory Sarich fed a nice pass as they crossed the blueline and Glencross responded with a top-shelf offering past Jaroslav Halak for his 19th of the season.
From there, though, it all fell apart, starting with a rarely seen bad goal surrendered by Miikka Kiprusoff.
David Backes simply fired a sharp-angled shot from the side boards when it was obvious no other play existed, and it somehow handcuffed Kiprusoff and drew the visitors even.
Indicative of how fragile this Flames team has become, they pretty much fell apart all the way through the second period, and paid for it.
Jason Arnott scored the first of his two powerplay goals in the final minute of the first period, a point shot that eluded Kiprusoff who was partially screened.
Arnott then netted his 29th goal in 57 career games against the Flames with a second-period rebound marker. Arnott now has 415 goals for his career, and sits fourth among active players in the NHL, behind Jaromir Jagr, Teemu Selanne and Jarome Iginla.
From there, the Blues — one of the league’s best defensive clubs — were more than capable of slamming the door against a Flames squad which managed only 11 shots through the first two periods.
Halak stopped 21 shots for the Blues (39-17-7)
Kiprusoff made 21 saves for the Flames, who next embark on a two-game road trip starting Thursday in Phoenix.
On Twitter: @SUNRandySportak