Flames fall out of playoff spot with loss to Blues

CALGARY – Alex Steen scored twice and Brian Elliott made 25 saves to lead the St. Louis Blues to a 4-0 win over the Calgary Flames on Tuesday night.

Jori Lehtera and David Backes also scored for St. Louis (45-20-5), which moved into sole possession of first place in the Central Division — one point up on Nashville — with five wins in its last six games. The Blues are in a three-way tie for first overall with the Anaheim Ducks and the New York Rangers.

Jonas Hiller had 22 stops to fall to 21-18-4 for Calgary (38-27-5), which tumbled out of a Western Conference playoff spot after Winnipeg beat San Jose earlier Tuesday. The Flames came into the game in third place in the Pacific Division.

Calgary is even with Los Angeles in points but the Kings take over third in the Pacific by virtue of having played one less game.

The Blues held the territorial edge for much of the first half of the game, but the match remained scoreless until Steen scored at 11:32 of the second period, ripping a 40-foot wrist shot into the top corner.

Leading 2-0 in the third period, Steen put the game away at 9:38 on another perfect shot, this time putting a slapshot just inside the goal post off a face-off.

After going 13 games without a goal, Steen has three goals in the last two games and 22 on the season.

It’s the second shutout in the last three games for Elliott, who improved to 24-11-2.

Calgary, which kicked-off a five-game homestand, has lost consecutive games on the heels of a six-game unbeaten streak.

Calgary had mustered only 10 shots when Steen opened the scoring in the second period. But the Flames had a couple of chances after that goal and nearly tied the game a couple of times.

In one scramble in front of the net, Johnny Gaudreau’s attempted wraparound sailed dangerously through the goal crease. Shortly after in another flurry, Mikael Backlund had two shots from right in front that were thwarted by Elliott.

St. Louis got an insurance goal 1:18 into the third period, taking advantage of a giveaway by T.J. Brodie.

Brodie attempted to send the puck around the end boards but it was intercepted by Vladimir Tarasenko. His pass out to Jaden Schwartz was quickly sent across the slot to Lehtera, who buried his 11th in the open side before Hiller could get across.

Notes: Backlund’s eight-game scoring streak was snapped. … Barret Jackman was a healthy scratch for the Blues, missing his first game of the season. That leaves only Alex Pietrangelo and Vladimir Tarasenko, who have appeared in all 70 games. … Calgary defenceman Kris Russell played in his 500th NHL game. … The Flames gave up an empty-net goal for the first time this season. They have scored nine.



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