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Blues 4, Flames 1

The SportsXchange

ST. LOUIS -- Merely securing a place in the upcoming NHL playoffs doesn't appear to be satisfying enough for the St. Louis Blues.

Knowing they can control their own fate and move up to a fourth place finish in the Western Conference with victories in their final two regular season games, the Blues accomplished the first half of that goal Thursday night with a 4-1 win over the Calgary Flames.

Ryan Reaves had the first two goal-game of his career to lead the Blues, who scored four goals in a game in regulation for the first time since April 1.

The victory gave the Blues 58 points, moving them ahead of idle Los Angeles and San Jose by one point and into fourth place. Each team has one game remaining, and the Blues can clinch the fourth spot, and home-ice advantage in the first round, with a win Saturday against Chicago no matter what happens in the game between the Kings and Sharks, also on Saturday night.

The Blues also own a possible tiebreaker against San Jose, but would lose a tiebreaker to the Kings if the teams are tied after the regular season ends.

After a scoreless first period, the Blues jumped on Calgary goalie Joey MacDonald for three goals in the second period. Reaves got the flurry started with a shot past a screened MacDonald 3:21 into the period.

The Flames tied the game after a St. Louis turnover forced goalie Brian Elliott to come out of the net, but his attempt to clear the puck took a bad bounce off the boards and he was unable to get back to the net in time to stop a shot by Sven Baertschi.

The tie only lasted for 2:02, however, before Andy McDonald's goal put the Blues back in front.

Alex Steen increased the lead to 3-1 with a power-play goal at 15:27, scoring on a backhand shot even as he was getting hooked on the play.

Reaves scored again 2:10 into the final period, matching his season total of two goals in 42 games. He had scored only eight goals in his career prior to Thursday night, known more for his fighting ability.

Reaves, who came into the game with a team-high 72 penalty minutes, made his night complete by getting into a fight with Calgary's Tim Jackman midway through the third period.

NOTES: With the Blues qualifying for the playoffs, Calgary will receive St. Louis' first-round pick in the NHL draft this summer as additional compensation for the April 1 trade that sent defenseman Jay Bouwmeester from the Flames to the Blues. ... Calgary defenseman Chris Butler, a St. Louis native, was named Thursday to the U.S. team for the world championships beginning May 3 in Finland. ... Flames goalie Miikka Kiprusoff is expected to decide in the next couple of days if he is going to retire. ... Kris Russell replaced Barret Jackman in the Blues lineup. Jackman suffered an ankle injury Tuesday night blocking a shot, but he is expected to be available when the playoffs begin next week. ... After failing to reach the playoffs for the fourth consecutive year, the Flames will conclude their season on Friday night in Chicago. The Blues host the Blackhawks in their regular-season finale on Saturday night.
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