Jordan Kyrou two goals St. Louis Blues Calgary Flames fifth straight loss
CALGARY – After a difficult start to the season, the St. Louis Blues are beginning to turn things around.
Jordan Kyrou scored twice and Thomas Greiss made 40 stops on Friday as the Blues secured three straight wins in a 5-2 win over the Calgary Flames.
After a 109-point season in which they went 49-22-11, St. Louis needed 31 games (15-15-1) to reach the .500 mark after an early eight-game losing streak set the team had back on his heels.
But back-to-back Alberta nights wins and points in five of the last six (4-1-1) have pushed the Blues back to playing the kind of hockey they expect of themselves.
“It’s huge, isn’t it? It’s a nice little streak we’ve got right now,” said Ivan Barbashev, who had one goal and one assist. “Hopefully we keep winning. I think we just play for each other.”
The Blues were outplayed 42-23, but Greiss won superbly for the fourth time in his last five starts.
“We just play very hard. Great team game,” said Greiss. “They had a lot of shots but I think we played really hard at net and didn’t really give them a rebound.”
It’s also been a disappointing season so far for Calgary (13-12-6), who went 50-21-11 for 111 points a year ago. The Flames are winless in the last five (0-2-3).
“The whole game was just very sloppy on our part,” said Flames center Elias Lindholm, who had two assists but also a costly rally in the opener.
“We all just have to look at ourselves in the mirror and get better. Obviously I did too many odd man rushes and too many turnovers tonight and I made a bad play there and it starts with me. I need to get better.”
Pavel Buchnevich also had a goal and an assist for St. Louis (15-15-1) and Brandon Saad rounded out the goal.
Connor Mackey had both goals for Calgary (13-12-6), who was booed by the home crowd as the final buzzer sounded. Dillon Dube has had 10 points (two goals, eight assists) with two assists in his last 10 games.
Dube was on a new line for the game as coach Darryl Sutter turned over his top six left wingers. Dube joined Lindholm and Tyler Toffoli and Jonathan Huberdeau dropped to play alongside Nazem Kadri and Mangiapane.
St. Louis went 2-1 into the third goal and took a two-goal lead after 3:46 when Buchnevich found an unimpeded path to the net due to a mistake in defense and defeated Flames goaltender Jacob Markstrom at the far goalpost.
Mackey’s second of the night at 7:40 briefly put Calgary back in the game, but St. Louis restored their two-goal lead 78 seconds later thanks to a poor turnover from Mackey, who backhanded the puck into his own slot , where he was intercepted Saad and promptly into the net.
“I have to be smart with the puck. I feel like I left the guys down there,” Mackey said. “I can’t do that right after the goal to get right back in.”
A minute later, Kyrou’s team-leading 13th of the year put the game on hold.
A pivotal moment of the game came in the second period when the Blues took a 2-1 lead. Three straight penalties in St. Louis put the Flames on the power play for almost six minutes — including a 22-second two-man lead — but Calgary couldn’t create any dangerous chances against the league’s worst penalty.
St. Louis’ penalty shootout is not only the league’s worst penalty at 67.1 percent, it would also go down as the worst in NHL history if they ended the season that way. The 1979-80 LA Kings have the worst PK of all time at 68.2 percent.
“We did a really good job, especially 5v3. A bunch of big sticks and big blocks. Just fought,” said Greiss.
The Flames were 0-for-3 with man advantage on Friday while the Blues went 1-for-2.
“We didn’t give up here,” said Mikael Backlund, the experienced Flames center. “We know we’re chasing it, sure, we’re behind in the standings. We know we have to play better and win more games and we will do it.”
sing the blues
The Flames continue to go head-to-head against St. Louis, who have gone 7-1-0 in their last eight games. The Blues have enjoyed their visits to southern Alberta and have won five of their last six games in Calgary.
Mackey’s two goals were the second and third of his career, but first in front of a crowd as his only other came in an empty Saddledome in the final game of the 2020-21 season due to COVID restrictions. Connor’s father Dave spent his last three NHL seasons from 1991-1994 with the Blues.
Blues: A five-game road trip continues Monday against the Vancouver Canucks.
Flames: Start a four-game road trip in California on Sunday with the first of two straight games against the San Jose Sharks.
This report from The Canadian Press was first published on December 16, 2022.