CALGARY, Alberta - The one thing more important for the St. Louis Blues than snapping their eight-game losing streak Thursday night was how they did it.
Getting back to playing sound defensive hockey, St. Louis limited Calgary to just 20 shots in beating the Flames 2-1.
The winning goal came from Scott Mellanby with 4:15 left in the third period. He worked himself into the clear and one-timed a hard slap shot over Roman Turek’s shoulder after being set up near the faceoff dot by Doug Weight.
“That’s the way we’re going to have to play, we have to win the way we won tonight,” said Mellanby. “Five-on-five we did a good job detailwise and that’s the bottom line, trying to execute our system. Earlier in the season when we were having success, we were winning those low-scoring games.”
Despite the recent 0-7-1 slide, St. Louis hits the All-Star break stuck in a four-way logjam for sixth place in the Western Conference with 60 points. Joining them at 60 points are Calgary, Los Angeles and Nashville. The Blues are just three points behind fifth-place Dallas and hold two games in hand.
“Obviously, it’s a big win for us going into the break so we get some momentum, but the biggest thing for us is we played way better than we have over the past month,” said goaltender Chris Osgood.
Osgood was mired in a 1-10-4 slide since mid-December, but was sharp against the Flames, making 19 saves.
“Our coaching staff has done a great job,” Osgood said. “As players, we were getting a little bit down on ourselves and they made us realize it’s not the end, we still have a lot of games left. We’re right there and if we can get on a winning streak, we’re right back where we were before.”
“These are the only games we can try to win, the 2-1s. If we try to run-and-gun, we have a difficult time winning,” said Keith Tkachuk, who assisted on the winner as well as getting his 23rd goal to open the scoring.
Dean McAmmond scored the lone goal for Calgary.
The Flames got a power play with just over two minutes left and pulled Turek when it got down to one minute remaining. But they were unable to generate a shot on goal despite the two extra skaters.
Over the final 40 minutes, Calgary was stifled by the tight-checking Blues, managing just nine shots, including only three in the third period.
“We played really good defensively,” said Weight. “They got a pretty good shot from Deano, but besides that we were holding them to the outside and feeling pretty comfortable.”
Where the Blues hit the break on a high, the Flames went in on a low.
After a scoreless first period, Tkachuk opened the scoring 8:35 into the second. Eric Boguniecki grabbed the puck in front during a scramble and while fending off Jordan Leopold, slid it to Tkachuk at the side of the net. Tkachuk flipped a backhander in the open side.
Calgary tied it 1-1 when McAmmond finished off a give-and-go with Shean Donovan.
Notes: Flames G Miikka Kiprusoff (sprained knee) has missed the past 19 games, but is expected to be ready when the Flames play Atlanta at home next Tuesday... Calgary coach Darryl Sutter coached his 750th NHL game... Calgary has lost six in a row against St. Louis.
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