CALGARY, Alberta -- The St. Louis Blues were set to sail into the Christmas break.
Perhaps that's what they were thinking, as the club coughed up a two-goal lead to the Calgary Flames in the final nine minutes of regulation Monday night at the Scotiabank Saddledome.
A 4-3 shootout loss capped a disastrous finish for the Blues, who surrendered late goals to Mike Cammalleri and Mark Giordano. Joe Colborne netted the only goal of the shootout.
So instead of a three-game winning streak, the Blues head into the holidays stumbling.
"We lost composure with the puck," Blues coach Ken Hitchcock said. "We made some puck errors; we got caught not clearing pucks at the end. We had full control of the hockey game, and the second goal gave Calgary some momentum.
"But we were in full control of the hockey game. We were just winding the game down and we made some puck errors, and the next thing you know, it's in our net."
The Blues had built a 3-1 advantage on goals from Kevin Shattenkirk, Jaden Schwartz and Magnus Paajarvi.
Goaltender Jaroslav Halak was spectacular throughout the game, but didn't receive much support in the latter stages.
Calgary, which was back on home ice after an 0-2-2 road trip, picked up a goal from Cammalleri for a 3-2 deficit with 8:55 left in regulation.
Cammalleri converted a pass from teammate Mikael Backlund from behind the net for this 12th goal of the season.
Then with 1:37 left to play, Patrik Berglund took an inexplicable penalty, pulling down Hudler along the boards to earn a roughing call.
"I don't know what call he made," Berglund said. "It looked he made a roughing call. I'd say more a holding call. I grabbed him on the shoulder a little bit. I think it was overreacting (by Hudler), but he made a call."
The Flames nearly bobbled away the puck in the closing seconds, but as the clock wound down, Hudler fed Giordano, who buried his fifth goal of the season to tie the game with four seconds remaining.
"The whole third period, that's a game that we ... if we just keep going, playing the way we can, we shouldn't have any issues," Blues defenseman Jay Bouwmeester said. "We let them back in the game and that's what you get."
Calgary had a chance to win in overtime. The Flames went on the power play when David Backes was ushered to the penalty box for kneeing Matt Stajan with 59 seconds left in overtime.
But they would eventually prevail in the shootout -- a finish that few may have seen coming earlier in the night.
The Blues jumped on the scoreboard first, picking up a power-play goal from Shattenkirk, his fifth of the season.
T.J. Oshie drew an interference penalty on Giordano, and following a season-long trend, the power-play unit didn't waste any time converting on the man-advantage. This time, it took eight seconds.
Derek Roy won the ensuing face-off. Chris Stewart fed the puck to Brenden Morrow, who used a no-look, behind-the-back pass to connect with Shattenkirk. He had a wide-open net, easily slipping the puck past Flames goalie Reto Berra.
The Blues led 1-0, but they suffered another injury scare in the first period.
Bouwmeester took a hooking penalty, and with Calgary sending an extra attacker onto during the delayed whistle, the Flames were able to set up shop at the point. Defenseman Shane O'Brien let go of a blistering shot that was blocked by Morrow.
Morrow left before the end of the first period, and wasn't on the bench for the start of the second, but he did return to the game.
The Blues erased both of Calgary's first-period power plays, extending their string of success to a season-best 16 for 16.
But in the second period, the Flames evened the score, 1-1, cracking the Blues' PK with Carlo Colaiacovo in the penalty box for hooking. Halak didn't have much of a chance on the goal, as Mikael Backlund sizzled a pass through the crease to Jiri Hudler, who capped off the brilliant setup.
Other than when the games were scoreless, it marked the first time that the Blues had even been tied with an opponent during their three-game winning streak. They responded quickly, with Schwartz scoring just 1:43 after Hudler and with Paajarvi adding another 44 seconds after Schwartz.
Schwartz netted his 11th goal of the season, and third in three games, on a rebound. Bouwmeester, whom the home team saluted Monday, put a side-angle shot on net and the puck ricocheted into the slot, from where Schwartz put it away.
Paajarvi's follow-up goal was his third of the season. He came from behind the net, and when Berra turned aside a shot by Maxim Lapierre with a leg save, Paajarvi pounced on the rebound. Adam Cracknell also assisted on Paajarvi's goal.
That goal would have stood as the game-winner if not for the Blues' late collapse.
"To me, it unraveled a bit, but we played really well in the second period and really well in the third," Hitchcock said. "Like I said, we made some individual puck errors, they took advantage of it and the game was over."
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