Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Blues Continue to Struggle with Loss at Calgary

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Blues Continue to Struggle with Loss at Calgary

Article excerpt

CALGARY, ALBERTA * You could have fried an egg on Mike Yeo's head the last time the Blues were in Calgary, a 7-4 loss last month that included a defensive meltdown (five goals allowed) in the third period. He was hot more in body language than words.

He wasn't exactly the bluebird of happiness Wednesday, either, as the Blues left Scotiabank Saddledome on the short end of a 2-1 score against the Flames. That's it for the season series between the two teams, with Calgary (18-14-3) winning two of three.

At 22-12-2 overall, the Blues remain tied with Nashville, Vegas and Los Angeles all with 46 points for the top spot in the wild, wild Western Conference. But the standings should be the least of the Blues' concerns at this point. Merely finding a victory after their fourth loss in five games is the priority.

This game was nothing like the previous two games in the series. A combined 18 goals were scored in those contests, and the Flames 7-4 win here on Nov. 13 was a wide-open track meet. This one was a lot more tight-checking, without a lot of prime chances early. And this time only one third-period goal, by Calgary's Doug Hamilton, decided things.

But the Flames got the best of the early chances and as the game progressed, that became more the case, especially once the third period started. Calgary's speed was as good as advertised. They created a lot of chances in transition with odd-man rushes, and only the work of Carter Hutton getting the start Thursday kept them in the game in the third period.

The Blues looked like their old selves in the early going, controlling the puck and getting significant time in the offensive zone. Through the first 5 1/2 minutes of play, they had a 5-0 edge in shots on goal. Nonetheless, Calgary got on the board first on what was first ruled no-goal but then overturned on a rebound shot by Michael Frolik that got behind Hutton but then was banged away by Tage Thompson.

Recalled Monday from San Antonio of the American Hockey League, Thompson was playing in his first Blues game since Game 4 of the season, Oct. 10 against the New York Rangers.

A review showed that the puck had crossed the goal line before being cleared by Thompson. Forty seconds of play elapsed after Thompson's swat before the horn sounded. By rule NHL headquarters in Toronto is allowed to stop play if a video replay determines that a goal was scored before the next stoppage of play.

That was the determination. The clock was reset to the 12:02 mark of the first period, Frolik had his seventh goal of the season and Calgary had a 1-0 lead. The Blues outshot the Flames 9-8 in the period, but Calgary had far better chances.

The Blues have had good success on the power play recently in Calgary, going five for their last 10 chances with the man advantage entering Wednesday's contest. That success continued on the Blues' first power play of the night, early in the second period. …

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