CALGARY, Alberta (AP) -- Dion Phaneuf did his part to ensure the Calgary Flames entered the Olympic break atop the Northwest Division.
The rookie defenseman scored twice, including the game-winner in overtime, to lead Calgary to a 3-2 win over the St. Louis Blues on
Andrew Ference also scored for Calgary, which played its final game before the hiatus for the Torino Games. Coupled with Vancouver's 3-1 loss to Anaheim, the Flames secured first place at the break.
"It was our goal since the first day of camp to be in first place by the Olympic break," Phaneuf said. "Now that we've achieved that, we're going to have to enjoy this break, come back refreshed and make a big run to the playoffs."
After St. Louis defenseman Barret Jackman took a hooking penalty 1:37 into the extra period, the Flames controlled the puck and
fired six shots at Blues goalie Patrick Lalime before Phaneuf finally got one past him at 2:40 with a hard slap shot after taking a pass from Ference.
It was Phaneuf's 14th goal of the season, tops among rookie defensemen, and team-leading sixth game-winner. His 12 power-play scores ties him for second among all rookies.
"Andy set it there perfectly and I got it away and [Daymond] Langkow made a good screen and luckily it beat him over his shoulder," Phaneuf said. "That's really how goals like that are created with the screen in front."
Rookies Dennis Wideman and Mike Glumac scored for St. Louis, which has won just once in its last 12 road games (1-7-4). Despite having their season-best three-game win streak stopped, the Blues continue to pick up points with just two losses in their past 11 games (5-2-4).
"We're not very pretty to watch, but we work really hard," Blues captain Dallas Drake said. "We keep it real simple and that's the only way we give ourselves a chance every night. Also, our goaltending the last month or so has been really good."
Brian Boucher, acquired from Phoenix along with winger Mike Leclerc earlier this month, stopped 20 shots in his Flames debut and won for the first time since Jan. 12.
"I felt great," said Boucher, who improved to 4-6-0. "I wanted to get that first one out of the way and to get a win was even better. Now I can build off of this one."
Lalime, recalled from AHL Peoria on Feb. 1, had 34 saves in his first NHL start since Dec. 10. His debut since returning from the minors came Wednesday night in Vancouver when he replaced the injured Curtis Sanford in the second period and stopped 19-of-20 shots.
"We threw him to the wolves a little bit early in the year and he lost his confidence a little bit," Drake said. "But he went down [to Peoria], played really well, and the last couple games he's been outstanding."
Trailing 2-1 after two periods, St. Louis tied it 54 seconds into the third to take advantage of a Calgary penalty for too many men on the ice.
Wideman's slap shot from the blue line caromed off the skate of Calgary defenseman Rhett Warrener and then hit Glumac before dribbling through Boucher's pads. Before the puck crossed the goal line, Ference took a desperate swipe at it with his stick but instead of knocking it away, the puck bounced off Boucher and back into the net.
St. Louis opened the scoring at 3:29 of the first period when Wideman cut through the slot and neatly put a high backhander past Boucher.
The lead lasted just 74 seconds before Phaneuf tied it with his 13th goal of the season, but just his second at even strength. Phaneuf leads all rookie defenseman in goals and points (36).
Calgary went ahead at 15:16 of the second period on Ference's first goal in 38 games.
Leclerc had an assist for his first point with the Flames. ... Calgary returns to action Feb. 28th when it hosts Vancouver to open a five-game homestand. ... Calgary enters the Olympic break with 73 points in 57 games, seven points better than at the same point in 2003-04. It is the most points the Flames have had after 57 games since the 1988-89 season when they had 84 (38-11-8). The Flames went on to win its only Stanley Cup that season. ... St.
Louis dropped to 12-11-4 when scoring first, while Calgary improved to 14-8-3 when surrendering the first goal.
Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press
Arena: Scotiabank Saddledome Location: Calgary, Alberta
Referees: Stephane Auger, Dan O'Halloran Linesmen: Andy McElman, Mark Pare
Attendance: 19,289 (100.0% full)
Team Stat Comparison
Power Play Goals
Power Play Opportunities
Shots on Goal
Dennis Wideman (8)
Assists: Lee Stempniak, Dean McAmmond
Dion Phaneuf (12)
Assists: Shean Donovan, Chris Simon
Andrew Ference (3)
Assists: Mike Leclerc, Shean Donovan
Mike Glumac (2)
(Power Play) Assists: Dennis Wideman, Scott Young
Dion Phaneuf (13)
(Power Play) Assists: Andrew Ference, Jarome Iginla