Halak, Blues shut out Flames 5-0, win 7th straight
Originally published January 9, 2014 at 11:38 p.m., updated January 9, 2014 at 11:45 p.m.
CALGARY, Alberta — Jaroslav Halak made 33 saves for his 28th career shutout and third this season to lead the St. Louis Blues to their seventh straight victory with a 5-0 win over the Calgary Flames on Thursday night.
Chris Stewart, Vladimir Sobotka, Ian Cole, Alex Pietrangelo and Vladimir Tarasenko each scored goal for St. Louis, which hasn’t been defeated since losing in a shootout to the Flames on Dec. 23.
Calgary has lost six of seven since, and it’s also the fifth time in seven games the Flames have been shut out.
The Blues pulled even in points with Chicago atop the Central Division — although St. Louis has three games in hand.
Calgary has lost five home games in a row in regulation for the first time since March 7-31, 2000.
The Blues got first-period goals from Stewart and Sobotka and that would turn out to be more than enough offense for Halak, who improved to 18-6-3.
Halak hadn’t played in five games while battling illness since getting pulled after the first period on Dec. 28 after getting beaten three times on 13 shots.
Recently named to the Slovakian Olympic hockey team, Halak made an opening-minute stop on Paul Byron’s breakaway and never looked back. In one of the Flames’ best chances, Jiri Hudler rang a shot off the goal post in the second period. Halak has three shutouts this season and 28 in his career.
The Flames have scored just once at the Scotiabank Saddledome during those five losses, and that goal came from rookie Sean Monahan on New Year’s Eve. Four of their five goals since Christmas came in one game: a 4-3 victory in Colorado on Monday.
Calgary got off to a quick start with a 4-1 edge in shots in the first three minutes. However, Lee Stempniak and Dennis Wideman then took consecutive minor penalties and although the Blues failed to score, they applied pressure and with the game’s momentum having turned back in their favor, St. Louis took a 1-0 lead 18 seconds after Wideman’s penalty expired.
Stewart got open and neatly converted a centering pass from Derek Roy for his 15th of the season.
The Blues added a second goal at 11:37 on a goal that Flames goaltender Karri Ramo, who made 24 stops, looked shaky on as Sobotka scored on a long shot from a sharp angle.
The only goal of the second period came on a neat pass from Tarasenko that was hammered past Ramo by Cole for his second goal of the season.
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