Joel Hofer makes 27 saves in 1st career shutout as Blues blank Flames 3-0
ALGARY, Alberta (AP) — Oskar Sundqvist had a goal and an assist and rookie Joel Hofer made 27 saves in his first career shutout as the St. Louis Blues beat the Calgary Flames 3-0 on Thursday night.
Kasperi Kapanen and Nick Leddy scored in the first period as St. Louis evened its record at 1-1-0 on its four-game trip. Sundqvist added an empty-net goal in the final minute.
“Definitely pretty cool,” said Hofer, 23. “I’m obviously very grateful to be in this position and the guys played really great in front of me and I’m just happy to get the win tonight.”
As for the game puck?
“My dad likes holding on to things like that,” he said. “So I’ll probably give it to him.”
Calgary lost its fourth straight game to fall to 2-4-1and has been held without a goal at home for nearly six periods. The Flames’ only goal in Tuesday’s 3-1 loss to the New York Rangers came 75 seconds into the first period.
Boos cascaded down from the Saddledome crowd throughout the game’s final five minutes.
“I just want to apologize to our fans,” said Flames defenseman Nikita Zadorov. “We’re playing (poorly) right now. It’s tough to watch.”
The memorable night for Hofer came in his second start of the season. It was a solid bounce-back performance after giving up six goals at home in a loss to the Arizona Coyotes a week ago. It was the fifth career NHL win for the Winnipeg native, who is the Blues’ backup goaltender this season behind Jordan Binnington. Hofer was selected by St. Louis in the fourth round of the 2020 NHL Draft.
“Obviously it’s great for the confidence,” said Hofer. “I’m just trying to do anything to help the team succeed. I’m just going to try and push the guys in practice and in games and I’m happy with the win.”
His best stop came with four minutes left in the second when he got his blocker on Walker Duehr’s 20-foot wrist shot from the slot on a 3-on-1 rush.
“He was solid,” Blues coach Craig Berube said. “When he had to make saves, he made them. I thought he was aggressive, played the puck really (well). He was dialed in tonight.”
The Flames have gone 1-5-1 since winning their season opener and have scored 12 goals in that span.
“It’s a privilege to play in the NHL, I don’t want anybody to forget that,” said Calgary defenseman Mackenzie Weegar. “I think you have 20 guys in here that know it’s a tough league, and you have to earn it. You have to earn to be in this room and be out there. I think we need to remember that.”
Jacob Markstrom made 32 stops for the Flames, falling to 1-4-1. He’s winless in his last five starts and Calgary has scored just six times in those games.
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