It was a bounce-back effort for St. Louis goaltender Jake Allen.
Pulled after allowing four first period goals in a loss to Calgary last Sunday, and after giving up another four goals on Thursday in a loss to Vancouver, Allen stood tall on Saturday afternoon making 28 saves to backstop the Blues to a 3-1 victory over the Flames.
“We rebounded really well against a really good team here in Calgary, probably one of the hottest teams in the league,” said Allen, who improves to 12-10-4.
“They kicked our butt pretty good in our own rink a couple weeks ago. It’s just going to be a good feeling now to have a couple days off.”
Allen was the story in the second period, stopping everything as Calgary outshot the visitors 13-5, but St. Louis held onto a 2-1 lead.
Among the saves was a pad stop on a Johnny Gaudreau breakaway three minutes in. Just over a minute later, rookie defenceman Rasmus Andersson also got behind the Blues defence, only to be denied.
“Jake was our best player in the second period for sure. He gave us a chance to win,” said Tyler Bozak, whose power-play goal at 11:43 into the first, to make it 2-0, was the game-winner.
“We’ve let him down quite a few times this year by not playing good defensively and giving up a lot of Grade-A chances. It’s nice for us to come out in the third and get a goal there and build on that lead.”
Allen stopped Gaudreau again on a breakaway early in the third, less than a minute after Oskar Sundqvist had made it 3-1.
“He’s a guy that has a lot of tricks in his bag. It’s really just trying to be as patient as you can, until you need to commit,” said Allen.
Tkachuk thought his club was maybe guilty of thinking the goals would come more easily.
“Just because we played well against a guy a couple days ago, doesn’t mean it’s going to automatically translate into today’s game,” Tkachuk said.
“Maybe had it in the back of our minds that if we shot everything, some would go in, but I think we need to get more bodies (to the net).”
David Perrron, with a goal and an assist, rounded out the scoring for St. Louis (14-16-4). The Blues finish 2-1-0 on their road trip through Western Canada. They return to action Thursday when they kick off a five-game homestand against Buffalo.
Perron has been a Flames killer. His 21 points (nine goals, 11 assists) in 16 games since the start of the 2014-15 season is the second-most of any player against Calgary, behind only Ryan Getzlaf (26 points in 20 games).
Matthew Tkachuk scored his 16th goal for Calgary (22-12-3). The leaders of the Pacific Division will limp into the break winless in their last three. They’re next in action Thursday in Winnipeg.
“The bottom line is we’ve had a good season up until this point, but now we feel like going into the break, we’re on a little bit of a slide,” said Flames captain Mark Giordano.
“We’ll go in, we’ve got to get our energy and our legs back, and it’s a big game coming out of the break against Winnipeg. You don’t want to let things like this keep going.”
It was Calgary’s first regulation loss at home since Nov. 15, ending a 7-0-2 string.
Tested 27 times, Mike Smith takes the loss to fall to 11-8-1. Smith came in on a six-game win streak, but David Rittich had started the previous four games.
“Just a little rusty, a little jumpy out there and we end up going into the break with a sour taste in your mouth,” said Smith.
The Blues got some insurance two minutes into the third. Smith couldn’t control the rebound of Sundqvist’s 40-foot slap shot and when the puck popped back into the slot, Sundqvist buried his sixth goal.
“It’s definitely coming for sure,” said Blue coach Craig Berube. “This team has really good character. We’ve got some veterans who have been around a while. They know how to win.”
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