ST. LOUIS – After a slow and inauspicious beginning, the St. Louis Blues finally found their legs.
And when they did, the ice felt like it was tilted downward, according to Andy McDonald.
“Maybe the first 10 (minutes), we really didn’t have our game,” McDonald said after the Blues defeated the Calgary Flames 5-2 Monday afternoon. “We got it turned around and there were a lot of good things tonight. We had four lines rolling and we seemed to get some momentum in the offensive zone and keep up with the changes.”
Alex Pietrangelo had a goal and an assist, Alex Steen, Chris Stewart, Kevin Shattenkirk and Jason Arnott scored goals, and McDonald added a pair of assists for the Blues, who got 15 saves from Jaroslav Halak.
“I liked where our game got about three or four minutes into the second period,” Blues coach Davis Payne said. “It was a lot of support issues early on. I thought Calgary had good jump, good intent and they were coming at us pretty good. We really had to make some adjustments as far as the type of spots we were in on the ice. Otherwise, it would have been a long night facing the kind of pressure they were giving.”
Curtis Glencross and Jarome Iginla scored for the Flames, who have dropped their first two games of the season. Henrik Karlsson got the start instead of Miikka Kiprusoff and stopped 30 shots.
“(Kiprusoff’s) not going to play 75 games this year because that’s what you guys expect from him,” said Flames coach Brent Sutter, who held a closed-door meeting with the players after the game. “He’s not going to play that much this year and we want to get Karl going right off the bat here. Our goal going into this was Kipper was going to play the first game and Karl was going to play the second game and that’s what we did.”
Karlsson said he was told before the season he would have to take on more games and felt like Monday was a tough start.
“I felt OK during the game, but I’ll have to talk to Kip and look at the game,” Karlsson said. “It was a tough game, but it wasn’t enough.”
The Blues outshot the Flames 35-17 and now have outshot their two opponents by a combined 68-33. Pietrangelo said it’s all about everyone pitching in.
“We’ve got our forwards working their tails off coming back into their own end,” Pietrangelo said. “We’re trying to block as many shots as possible from the (defencemen) and the forwards. We’ve got a lot of guys bearing down here and sacrificing. Top to bottom, that’s what we need here.”
The Flames grabbed the early lead on Glencross’ second goal of the season, skating into the high slot and beating Halak with a shot that deflected off a stick 8:03 into the game.
The Blues got the equalizer with 1:09 left in the first on Steen’s first goal of the season. Steen followed Jason Arnott’s one-timer and beat Karlsson on the doorstep for his third career goal in 15 games against the Flames.
The Blues got two goals from their defencemen to take a 3-1 lead. Shattenkirk converted Jamie Langenbrunner’s backhand feed at 3:39 of the second and Pietrangelo’s one-timer from the right point with 4:30 to play in the period gave the Blues their two-goal advantage.
But Iginla knocked in his first of the season and 27th in 57 career games against St. Louis on a power play at 16:55 to cut the Blues’ lead to 3-2.
Stewart scored a pretty goal, getting a poke-checked puck from Pietrangelo, bursting on along the left side on a semi-break and scooping a backhand over Karlsson’s glove to the far side 3:44 into the third period.
“He’s a smart player and made a good play there,” Stewart said of Pietrangelo’s poke-check. “I went down and just got a shot off on the backhand and it went in … lucky bounce.
“We wanted to go into that third period as if it were a tied hockey game. We didn’t sit back on our heels. We wanted to get that insurance marker. We dictated the whole momentum in that third period.”
McDonald stripped a puck from Scott Hannan behind the goal and fed Arnott alone in the slot for the Blues’ fifth goal with 5:38 to play.
Iginla said the Flames can’t worry about being 0-2.
“It’s disappointing, but I think more than just a win, we need to find our game and to get our compete level up,” Iginla said. “… Tonight, we got outcompeted and outworked. So it’s more than just the 0-2. We just need to find our game.”
Notes: Kiprusoff was 4-0-0 with a 0.75 goals-against average and .975 save percentage in four games against the Blues last season and is 19-5-2 against St. Louis in his career. … Flames D Jay Bouwmeester holds the longest current ironman streak at 508 games. He started the streak on March 6, 2004. … Two of the four all-time active goals leaders were on the ice Monday. Third on the list is Iginla (485) and fourth is Arnott (401). … The Flames were missing C Mikael Backlund (broken finger), C Brendan Morrison (knee), D Brett Carson (back) and LW Raitis Ivanans (concussion). The Blues were without RW David Perron (post-concussion symptoms), RW B.J. Crombeen (shoulder) and D Carlo Colaiacovo (upper-body).