ST. LOUIS – Two early goals by Jarome Iginla started a big night of offence for the Calgary Flames, who overpowered the St. Louis Blues to end a three-game losing streak.
Blues coach Andy Murray was more impressed with one of Iginla’s assists, a cross-ice pass to Mike Cammalleri for a power-play goal that broke open Calgary’s 6-3 victory Tuesday.
Cammalleri had an easy one-timer after Blues goalie Chris Mason, expecting a drive from Iginla, couldn’t react in time when Iginla instead threaded the needle. The goal put the Flames ahead 4-2 in the second period.
“Maybe the best forward in the game,” Murray said of Iginla. “He froze everybody. I think everybody in the building thought he was shooting the puck, including Chris, and Chris has to honour that shot when it’s Jarome Iginla.”
Iginla finished with two assists for his 13th four-point game, tying a career high. That made it easy for goalie Miikka Kiprusoff to beat the Blues for the 11th straight time.
“(Iginla) had a great game,” Flames coach Mike Keenan said. “He had a leadership game and you expect that from your best players. He was engaged tonight, and it looked like that right from the start.”
Iginla, who leads the Flames with 37 points, was held to one assist during the team’s slide. But in 46 games against the Blues he has 56 points – 20 goals and 36 assists – a total that includes a goal and an assist in a 4-3 overtime victory at St. Louis on Dec. 5.
The latest outburst was Iginla’s 13th four-point game and second this season, also coming on the one-year anniversary of another four-pointer in St. Louis last season.
“The same day? Oh, that’s cool,” Iginla said. “I’m glad I didn’t get that in my head, but this is a good hockey barn, it’s a good atmosphere.”
He’s one point shy of 800 for his career.
“I didn’t know I was that close to 800,” Iginla said. “But I was thankful for the points.”
Kiprusoff, who made 28 saves, hasn’t lost to the Blues since Jan. 30, 2006, in a 3-2 shootout. The run includes both meetings this season, and he’s 13-3-1 in his career against St. Louis.
“I don’t want to think about it too much because then I’ll lose the next one,” Kiprusoff said. “I just try to do the same stuff night after night.”
Brad Boyes got his 16th goal and an assist for the Blues, who have lost four in a row while allowing 21 goals.
Patrik Berglund and David Backes also scored for St. Louis, which has dropped nine of 10 to the Flames.
“Two three-goal leads is something we can’t give up, especially with all the injuries we have to some key offensive guys,” defenceman Barret Jackman said. “We have to keep games close, and defensively we just didn’t make the right decisions.
“When you’re giving up five, six goals a game, it’s hard to win.”
Iginla scored both goals in the first period, one while sprawled in the crease after being restrained by defenceman Mike Weaver. The puck glanced off Iginla’s glove and he thought also off his backside on Cory Sarich’s wrist shot from the point, beating Mason on the Flames’ first shot.
Iginla made it 2-0 with a more typical play, a blistering wrist shot from the slot off a feed from Craig Conroy for his 16th goal at 17:38.
Matthew Lombardi made it 3-0 early in the third period with a shot that deflected off the right skate of Blues defenceman Carlo Colaiacovo. The Blues briefly made a game of it when Berglund intercepted Adrian Aucoin’s clearing attempt up the middle and Boyes flipped one past Kiprusoff with two seconds to go on a power play at 10:31 of the second.
Cammalleri’s power-play goal capitalized on a cross-checking penalty against the Blues’ Roman Polak, and Aucoin’s deflection on a 2-on-1 break with Lombardi made it 5-2 after two periods.
Notes: The Flames are 10-1 when Iginla has more than one point. … Calgary totalled six goals during the three-game skid. … Boyes has six goals and six assists in the last 10 games, and a goal in both games against Calgary this season.