Flames get late equalizer, win in shootout

The Sports Xchange
The SportsXchange

CALGARY, Alberta -- There is a reason coaches preach about playing a full 60 minutes, and it was on display at both ends of the rink Monday at the Scotiabank Saddledome.
After a 44-second lapse in the second period by the Calgary Flames saw the visiting St. Louis Blues score a pair of goals in under a minute, the Blues returned the favor with a late lapse of their own, allowing Flames captain Mark Giordano to tie it up on a power play with 4.2 seconds remaining to send the game into overtime.
From there, the two teams needed a shootout to settle things, with center Joe Colborne scoring the winner to send the Flames into the holiday break on a high note with a 4-3 win.
On the other side, it was a low note for the Blues and captain David Backes, who have not encountered much trouble salting away late leads this season.
"It's beyond disappointing," Backes said. "They turned it up a notch in the third there and we kind of thought we could sit on our heels and (goaltender) Jaro (Halak) made tremendous saves for the first 55 minutes and we kind of hung him out to dry there and they capitalized. Now, we've got a disappointing feeling, rather than a satisfied one, leaving here."
Defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk and left wingers Jaden Schwartz and Magnus Paajarvi scored for the Blues (24-7-5), while right winger Jiri Hudler, left winger Michael Cammalleri and Giordano replied for the Flames (14-17-6).
Halak made 26 stops in a losing cause.
Meanwhile, Flames goaltender Reto Berra, who kicked aside 32 shots for his fifth win of the season, watched as Blues defenseman Jay Bouwmeester suited up for his 800th-career regular-season game in his first trip back to Calgary since being dealt to St. Louis prior to last year's trade deadline for the Swiss goaltender, defenseman Mark Cundari and a first-round pick in the 2013 NHL Draft.
It was a gutsy holiday effort for the Flames, who will get back to work Friday when they host the Edmonton Oilers.
"It was a really good feeling to see that one go in, for sure," Giordano said. "We feel like our past three or four games, we've been playing really well and we haven't been getting the results. Against one of the best teams in the league, to come back and win in that way, it leaves a good feeling here and it's going to be a nice Christmas break."
Despite less-than-stellar results through the first two and a half months of the season, Flames coach Bob Hartley was glad to see his team get a holiday bounce or two, after going down 3-1 midway through the second frame.
"Credit goes to our players -- they never quit," Hartley said. "We don't want to fall behind but we always feel as a coaching staff that we keep supporting those guys and they always come up with a big goal, a big effort. We tied that game with four seconds left, that's a pretty good feeling."
Following a 10-minute delay due to ice issues, the Blues opened the scoring on a power play at the 7:23 mark of the first period when left winger Brenden Morrow found Shattenkirk for an easy backdoor tap-in to give St. Louis an early 1-0 lead.
The Flames got the equalizer on a power play of their own at 12:06 of the second period, as center Mikael Backlund slid a cross-crease pass to Hudler, who deposited his 11th of the year past Halak.
Just 1:43 later, with the Blues buzzing in the Flames' end, a loose puck popped out into the slot and Schwartz's seeing-eye wrister found its way past Berra to restore the St. Louis lead.
St. Louis made it a two-goal advantage with its second marker in a span of 44 seconds, as Paajarvi banged home a rebound in front for a 3-1 lead at the 14:33 mark of the second period.
The Flames cut into the deficit at 11:05 of the third period when Cammalleri buried a Paul Byron pass to make it 3-2.
With Blues center Patrik Berglund off for roughing, Giordano tied it with 4.2 seconds to go, hammering a cross-ice one-timer past Halak.
Despite a solid effort, Blues coach Ken Hitchcock was irked by the costly mistakes late in the game.
"The second goal gave Calgary some momentum, but we were in full control of the hockey game," Hitchcock said. "We were just winding the game down and we made some puck errors and the next thing you know it's in our net."
NOTES: St. Louis RW Chris Stewart was named the NHL's first star of the week on Monday. Stewart, 26, scored six goals and added an assist in four games last week, including a hat trick against the Edmonton Oilers on Saturday. ... LW Alex Steen, the Blues' leading scorer with 38 points in 35 games this season, missed the game with an undisclosed upper-body injury. ... Calgary LW Curtis Glencross was placed on injured reserve Monday with a high-ankle sprain. It's estimated Glencross will miss eight weeks. ... Flames D Kris Russell (knee) will miss four-to-six weeks with a second-degree MCL sprain. ... RW Blair Jones (knee) is also out indefinitely with a meniscal tear. ... The Blues and Flames will meet for the third and final time this season on Jan. 9 at the Scotiabank Saddledome.

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