Sometimes when you're on a roll, things just kind of...happen for you, and that was the way it went for the Flames tonight, as some fortunate bounces helped them to their fourth consecutive victory, a 4-1 triumph over the St. Louis Blues.
The home side got things started early when David Moss potted his 11th of the season unassisted just over five minutes in after St. Louis got into some early penalty trouble. It would stay that way for the remainder of the opening frame, as the Flames would enjoy two more powerplays, but couldn't capitalize on them.
Moss would strike again less than two minutes into the second period, again on a powerplay, to give the Flames a 2-0 advantage, although the middle frame was all St. Louis, with the Blues out-shooting and out-chancing their hosts by a fair margin while trying to cut into their lead. Despite some intense pressure that saw the visitors limit the Flames to just four shots, Adam Pardy would score his first of the season, sprung on a breakaway by an Olli Jokinen pass.
The third period would be more of the same, with the Blues tilting the ice in their favour for the majority of the final frame. The visitors would finally find the scoresheet Phillip McRae bounced one in off a Flames defender's skate for his first NHL goal, but it was too late. Jarome Iginla would seal the victory with an empty netter.
Special teams came through for the home side again on this night. as David Moss scored twice with the man advantage. The forward has been on fire lately, and has seen an increase in his ice time both at even strength and on the PP as a result. The Flames were only penalized twice in this contest, killing off both St. Louis powerplays, although the Blues aren't especially dangerous with the extra man to begin with, sitting at 26th in the league.
After a string of good games, it appears that Matt Stajan was back to his old invisible self tonight, finishing -4 in EV scoring chance differential and -8 in Corsi and with zero shots on goal in 15:13 minutes of ice time. His linemates weren't stellar either, as Niklas Hagman and Curtis Glencross finished with similar stat lines, but the former Leaf seemed to be making progress nonetheless. The Flames' bottom six had an uncharacteristically off game as a whole tonight, as Jackman, Backlund, and Kostopoulos failed to make much of an impact on this evening's proceedings both on the score sheet and in terms of underlying numbers. The line was also on for St. Louis' only goal, finishing -1 on the night. Miikka Kiprusoff continued his strong play of late in his 500th career game, making 28 stops for the 'W,' including some crucial ones as the clock was winding down in the final frame with the Flames clinging to a two-goal lead.
The Flames were definitely outplayed for much of this game, largely due to the fact that they were sitting back for all but 5:34 of it after taking an early lead, and all but five skaters finished underwater in Corsi as a result. This is a game that probably could have gone differently, but thanks to some bounces going the Flames' way and some fine stops by Kiprusoff, especially in the third period, the home side managed to hold on for the win. It wasn't pretty and it wasn't necessarily deserved, as the Flames had only nine shots on goal after forty minutes and recorded only six scoring chances at even strength, but they'll take it. The two points moves them into 11th place in the conference and just two back of eighth place Colorado heading into the All-Star Break.
This was the last we'll see of the Flames for a little while, as they hit the road for a two-game trip following the All Star break, beginning in Nashville on February 1st.