Blackhawks 5, Flames 2
After getting swept in a home-and-home series and losing their leading scorer to injury, the Blackhawks needed a big win to get back on track. They got it as they defeated the Calgary Flames 5-2 Sunday night.
Nikolai Khabibulin made 34 saves and five different Hawks scored goals in the victory.
“We realized it was important to come out tonight and play with energy,” said Duncan Keith
, who had two assists and was named the game’s first star. “We’re playing solid in our own building. To come out early and play the way we did was great.”
The Hawks jumped on Flames goalie Mikka Kiprusoff early in the first period with a goal by Martin Havlat. Todd Bertuzzi evened the score to begin the second, but three unanswered goals by the Hawks - including a breakaway shorthanded mark by Kris Versteeg – gave the Hawks the lead for good.
“We knew they played last night, and any time a team’s coming off a back-to-back you want to jump on them early,” said Andrew Ladd, who had a goal and assist in the game. “We knew we wanted to make it a long night for them.”
The Flames gained some momentum in the third period, taking 20 shots but only earning one goal in the period, a power play strike by Daymond Langkow. An empty-netter from Patrick Sharp
– his 20th of the season – sealed the victory.
“[The Flames] played well in the third period,” said Hawks head coach Joel Quenneville. “Khabi was very sharp. They were coming and we were fortunate to protect that lead. It was a very even game.”
The win was a big one for Chicago, not just because it broke a two-game losing streak but also because it showed that the Hawks could win convincingly without their leading scorer Patrick Kane
. Kane sat out with a leg injury sustained in Detroit on Dec. 30.
“We have a lot of guys who can go to the net and make things happen,” Versteeg said. “Pat’s a special player, but our team has enough talent that we don’t have to rely on a just couple of guys to score.”
The Hawks will now play three games on the road, starting with Phoenix Tuesday night.
|Three star selections