Jason Arnott scored a pair of power-play goals Monday night to lead St. Louis to a 3-1 victory over the Calgary Flames, moving the Blues into a tie with Detroit for top spot in the Central Division.
David Backes also scored for St. Louis (39-17-7), which is 9-3-0 in its last 12 games and moves to within two points of the Vancouver Canucks for first place overall.
Curtis Glencross scored the lone goal for Calgary (28-24-11), which remains in 11th place in the Western Conference, three points back of the eighth-place Dallas Stars.
Calgary recognized Hall of Fame defenceman Al MacInnis before the game, honouring his No. 2 by raising it to the rafters of the Scotiabank Saddledome.
Arnott gave St. Louis a 2-1 lead with 20 seconds remaining in the first period when he scored on a long slapshot that eluded goaltender Miikka Kiprusoff.
He made it 3-1 at 6:21 of the second by corralling a rebound off Patrick Berglund’s shot, skating through the slot and shovelling in a backhand.
Arnott, who entered the night with one goal in his last 13 games, has 29 goals in 57 career games against the Flames.
Backes erased Calgary’s 1-0 lead on a rare bad goal surrendered by Kiprusoff at 14:13 of the first period.
Backes flung a harmless-looking wrist shot at the net as he skated down the wing and it squeaked through the pads of the Flames goaltender.
It was the first shaky night for Kiprusoff in a long time. The 35-year-old Finn, who finished the night with 21 saves on 24 shots, has been sensational for the Flames all season and one of the main reasons Calgary has been able to climb back into playoff contention, picking up points in 10 of their previous 11 games.
Calgary has been outshot in 11 games in row.
Jan Halak won his third straight start for St. Louis and finished the night with 20 saves. He is 12-3-0 in his last 15 decisions.
The Flames opened the scoring at 5:11 when Cory Sarich’s nice pass gave Glencross an open lane to the net and he sent a perfect wrist shot over the blocker of Halak and just inside the goal post.
It was the 19th goal of the season for Glencross and first in three games since returning from a sprained knee, which sidelined him for 13 games.
The game featured two teams that both chose to stand pat at the NHL trade deadline.
While the Blues rewarded the confidence that St. Louis management showed in the current make-up of the club, the same could not be said for Calgary.
The Flames generated only 11 shots on goal in a listless opening 40 minutes, drawing the ire of the sell-out crowd of 19,289.
The booing started during an anaemic Calgary power play late in the second period, which failed to generate any good chances. The jeers grew louder as the team headed off the ice after the second, and intensified even more after the final buzzer went.
The Flames wrap up a four-game homestand without recording a victory and earning only two points – the result of two shootout losses.
Notes: During the last 11 games, Calgary has been outshot by a combined 107 shots... The Blues improve to 26-2-1 when leading after two periods... Arnott has 415 career goals, which ranks him fourth amongst active players. He is three up on Marian Hossa.
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