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'Save of the year' sparks Blues past Flames

The SportsXchange

CALGARY -- Jake Allen made one of the finest saves of the NHL season, and his St. Louis Blues teammates made sure it came in a winning effort.

David Perron registered two goals and Alex Steen had a three-point effort as the Blues rolled to a 5-2 victory over the host Calgary Flames on Friday night at the Scotiabank Saddledome.

Even with all that scoring, the biggest highlight was Allen's first-period robbery of Flames rearguard T.J. Brodie, when he reached across the crease and used his stick to knock a coulda-woulda-shoulda-been goal out of midair just before it could cross the goal-line.

"I will say that's probably the best save I've seen in my career," said Flames forward Michael Cammalleri.

That save preserved an early 2-0 lead and seemed to further inspire the Blues, who celebrated two more goals before the first intermission and gave the rookie netminder -- making just his second NHL start -- all the offensive support he needed.

"Unbelievable save. Probably the save of the year right there," Perron said. "I think it's pretty impressive that he did that in his second NHL game and it's good for us, I think. We had a good start and if they score on that, they probably were going to have a better period."

Blues rookie Jaden Schwartz opened the scoring 88 seconds after the opening faceoff, hanging behind the Flames defense on a breakout-gone-bad. Steen swiped the puck and Schwartz, who made a deke to his backhand and gave St. Louis a 1-0 lead before many fans had even made it to their seats.

The stragglers were still in the concession line when Schwartz teed up Patrik Berglund for a one-timer at the 4:07 mark, chasing Flames starting goaltender Leland Irving after four shots.

Steen took advantage of a lucky bounce to add to the lead about nine minutes later, collecting a loose puck beside the net and putting it into an empty net.

That was only the fifth shot on goalie Joey MacDonald, who was making his first appearance for the Flames after being claimed on waivers from the Detroit Red Wings earlier this week.

MacDonald was fishing another puck out the net before the intermission, with Perron depositing a power-play goal to add to Calgary's misery. McDonald finished with 18 saves, but he was saddled with the loss. Allen stopped 30 shots in a winning cause.

"We shouldn't even be talking about our goalies tonight. We just didn't give them a chance," said Flames coach Bob Hartley.

"We handed them the game. A couple of bad turnovers in the first period in our zone, giveaways, and that's a team simply too deep in talent to give them point-blank shots.

"We fought back, but the damage was done."

The Flames' first goal came immediately after the Blues were whistled for a too-many-men penalty. Cammalleri won the faceoff and kicked the puck back to Dennis Wideman, who unloaded a booming shot from the point for a man-advantage score.

Flames winger Curtis Glencross trimmed the lead to 4-2 early in the third period, finishing off a pass from captain Jarome Iginla, but Perron scored another power-play goal just 1:22 later to give the Blues plenty of breathing room.

While the Flames were disappointed in their first-period effort, Blues coach Ken Hitchcock wasn't thrilled with the way his team finished after storming to an early lead.

"For me, we need to find 60 minutes in our game. We've been playing 40 minutes but we've had our foot off the accelerator. We got away with it today," Hitchcock said. "If we play like that in Vancouver we're not going to get away with it.

"For me, we're not there yet. We're making some strides but we aren't there yet."

NOTES: Including Friday's game, Iginla has appeared in 1,200 regular-season games, all for Calgary. Iginla is seventh among active skaters in that category, although Phoenix Coyotes winger Shane Doan is the only player ahead of him who has spent his entire career with the same franchise. Roman Hamrlik (Washington Capitals), Jaromir Jagr (Dallas Stars), Teemu Selanne (Anaheim Ducks), Alex Kovalev (Florida Panthers) and Ray Whitney (Dallas Stars) are also ahead of Iginla on the all-time list. ... Flames defenseman Jay Bouwmeester's ironman streak is now at 600 consecutive games. The 29-year-old hasn't missed an outing since March 3, 2004, when he was still a member of the Florida Panthers. ... The Blues announced that winger Jamie Langenbrunner had successful hip surgery. He's out for the remainder of the season. ... With Paul Byron suffering a fractured left hand in Wednesday's win over Dallas, center Roman Horak was recalled from the AHL and made his first appearance of the season for the Flames. Defenseman Anton Babchuk, who missed eight games due to a shoulder injury and was a healthy scratch for three more, also suited up for the Flames for the first time since the lockout. ... The Flames next open a two-game road-trip to Dallas and Phoenix.
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