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Husso makes 39 saves, Blues deal Flames their 3rd straight defeat

CALGARY — Outshot badly on the back end of a back-to-back, the opportunistic St. Louis Blues made the most of their chances on Saturday night to bag a big two points and complete a successful road trip.
St. Louis Blues goalie Ville Husso, left, tries to stop Calgary Flames Brett Ritchie from scoring during first period NHL hockey action in Calgary, Saturday, April 2, 2022.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh

CALGARY — Outshot badly on the back end of a back-to-back, the opportunistic St. Louis Blues made the most of their chances on Saturday night to bag a big two points and complete a successful road trip.

Justin Faulk had a goal and two assists and Nathan Walker scored the go-ahead goal late in the third period in the Blues' 6-4 victory over the Calgary Flames.

St. Louis returns home after earning five of six possible points on its Western Canada road trip. The Blues are third in the Central Division, three points back of the second-place Minnesota Wild and four points up on the Nashville Predators.

"You don't care how you get them, you just want the two points,” Faulk said. “Five out of six on the road trip for us... tough road trip, lot of travel, back-to-back... it's a big five points for us."

The go-ahead goal, breaking a 3-3 tie, came at 18:04 when Robert Thomas carried the puck into the Flames end, stopped and curled along the boards, sending a pass into the slot where Walker, wide open, beat Jacob Markstrom inside the post.

"He made a hell of a play,” said Walker, who has seven goals. “I just tried to get open in the middle there and tried to get the puck on net."

The last minute featured two empty-net goals for the Blues, sandwiched on either side of a late goal for the Flames.

“It was a real gutsy win by us,” said St. Louis coach Craig Berube. “You come in this building on a back-to-back night, you better battle and you better have a gutsy win because that's a very good team over there, and they just keep coming.”

Thomas and Ryan O'Reilly also scored for St. Louis (38-20-10). Ivan Barbashev and Brandon Saad added the empty-netters. The Blues kick off a four-game homestand Monday against Arizona.

Villle Husso, who stopped 25-of-27 shots in playing 47-plus minutes on Friday in relief of Jordan Binnington in a 6-5 overtime loss in Edmonton, made 39 saves to improve to 19-6-5.

The final shots were 43-25 for Calgary, which held a 28-10 edge after 40 minutes.

Markstrom fell to 31-14-8.

"Lot of pressure by them. They're a good team. We knew they were going to come out hungry and they did. We got fortunate and scored first, which helped,” said Berube. “Huss had to be really good for a lot of shots at him.”

Brett Ritchie, Johnny Gaudreau, Noah Hanifin and Dillon Dube scored for Calgary (40-19-9). The Flames are winless in their last three (0-2-1) after going two and a half months without losing two games in a row.

“Some lost coverages that we had in the wrong situations,” said Flames assistant coach Kirk Muller. “It's important right now because these games are all real tight, low-scoring games. Every shift matters. Every little detail matters.”

After a stretch in which 21 of the Flames' last 26 games have been at the Saddledome, the Flames depart Sunday on a four-game trip that begins in Los Angeles on Monday. It will be their first road trip longer than one game in two months.

“Probably a good time for a road trip,” said Flames winger Milan Lucic. “As much as we love playing in Calgary in front of our home fans, it's nice to get away and freshen things up a bit.”

The Kings, second in the Pacific Division, defeated Winnipeg on Saturday to climb within three points of the Flames, who hold three games in hand.

“Whenever we've had successes this year, it's been by playing a hard-nosed, checking game and we're not trying to win a game 6-5,” said Hanifin. “ We've got a big game coming up on Monday where we can get back on track here against a big divisional opponent, so be ready for that.”

Down 3-2 to start the third, Calgary tied it at 10:43 when Hanifin poked the puck into the net from a scramble in front.

During that frenetic sequence, Ritchie ended up having his leg pinned underneath Blues defenceman Robert Bortuzzo, and he was down on the ice in obvious pain as the Flames celebrated the tying goal. He had to be helped off the ice. There was no update on his condition.

After the teams split four goals in the opening period, the second period was scoreless until 13:35 when Faulk broke in undetected from the blue line and one-timed a set-up from David Perron.

NOTE: Centre Sean Monahan (hip surgery), who will miss the remainder of the season, and defenceman Oliver Kylington (undisclosed injury) did not play. Centre Ryan Carpenter and defenceman Michael Stone drew into the line-up.... Blues centre Jordan Kyrou (illness) missed his third game. With Logan Brown also out with an illness, St. Louis went with 11 forwards and seven defencemen... The Blues are 14-3-3 against the Pacific Division.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Apr. 2, 2022.

Darren Haynes, The Canadian Press

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