By Brad Vandenberk
After allowing Sam Gagner to tie an Edmonton Oilers point per game record with eight points (4G, 4A) while suffering an 8-4 loss, the Chicago Blackhawks embarked on a three and a half hour bus drive south to play the Calgary Flames. This would be the third of a nine game road trip for the Hawks. The message was easy. Keep the game simple, play defensive hockey and the goals will come. The Flames were looking to extend their 3 game winning streak at home versus the Hawks. Coach Q’s boys are scheduled to head back to Chicago after this game and then make their way to Colorado on Tuesday. They will finish next week in San Jose and Phoenix with another back to back on Friday and Saturday.
Ray Emery got the call in net after coming in for Crawford during the Oilers game, the night previous when Emery allowed 3 goals on 13 shots. Miikka Kiprusoff was between the pipes for the home town Flames. Andrew Brunette was injured during the Oilers game and is diagnosed with an upper body injury. Michael Frolik didn’t wear a suit and tie during this game, he suited up and played on the fourth line with Jamal Mayers moving back to the other wing and newly acquired center men Brendan Morrison. Marcus Kruger was back trying to fill the void at center ice between the high flying Marian Hossa and sniper Patrick Sharp. Bryan Bickell saw his return back to the ice after being scratched the night earlier. He was reunited with Dave Bolland and Andrew Shaw. The dominate Jonathan Toews’ line stayed the same with Patrick Kane and Viktor Stalberg. Sami Lepisto, John Scott were the other two not in the lineup.
The Flames ended the Hawks shutout attempt early, as Olli Jokinen gobbled up a puck in the offensive zone and ripped a shot over Emery’s shoulder. The played continued as Jokinen celebrated with his teammates. The goal was reviewed and proved that Jokinen hit the back bar of the net and the puck bounced out. This gave the Flames a 1-0 lead with 7:36 remaining. The Flames committed the first penalty of the game as Blake Comeau was called for a hook. The Hawks failed to even the score. With just 28 seconds remaining in the opening period, Kane found Brent Seabrook going back door and he tied it up sending both teams to the room knotted at 1. The Hawks outshot the Flames 13-6.
Period two opened with Flames forward Krys Kolanos getting a Bickell high stick. There was no call on the play but Kolanos was bleeding all over the ice. Flames tough guy Tim Jackman made his presence felt with a few nice scoring chances. Emery was there to close the door and keep the score tied. The Hawks first penalty came to Kruger. He wasn’t as lucky as Bickell, going to the box for the high stick. During the shorthanded play, Frolik and Mayers break in on a 2 on 1. Frolik loses the puck on the attempt and the Hawks kill off the penalty. Frolik then used his stick like a lasso and clipped Tom Kostopoulos under the eye. The blood began to stream and Frolik was sent to the box for a four minute major high sticking penalty. The Flames, who have one of the worst power plays in the league, went to work. The hawks killed off the first two minutes of the major but were unable to kill the entire penalty. Jay Bouwmeester stood in front of Emery and grabbed a rebound off Mikael Backlund shot and went high over the blocker of Emery giving the Flames a 2-1 lead with 1:04 remaining. The Flames outshot the Hawks in this period 14-6.
Hawks opened the third period with some chances from the Toews line. Their puck possession was dominate but more shots were needed on net. Stalberg had a great opportunity as he walks in and caught a stick through his mid-section. Similar to Vancouver, he looked to the ref for a call, but to no avail. Bolland found his way onto the second line with Hossa and Sharp early in the period. Steve Montador hooks a streaking Michael Cammalleri. The Hawks, again, were short handed. After killing the penalty, Flames forward Alex Tanguay finds Jarome Iginla sneaking behind Duncan Keith. He breaks in all alone and dekes out Emery, going backhand, giving the Flames a 3-1 lead with just 7:21 left for the Hawks. Just after the Flames goal, Monty sends the puck over the glass untouched and heads right back to the box for a delay of game penalty. The Flames could not add to their lead and the Hawks were unable to gather any points in the last 2 games falling 3-1 to the Flames. This was the fourth straight home game victory for the Flames over the Hawks.
-Flames outshot Hawks 32-27
-Hawks go 0-2-1 to start there nine game road trip.
-Flames go 1 for 4 on the power play while Hawks finish 0 for 2.
-This is the Hawks 5th straight loss.
-Duncan Keith led all Hawks with 27:25 TOI.
-Dave Bolland was the only Hawks center man to be over 50% in the faceoff circle.
-The Hawks (65pts) slowly slid down the central division standings as St Louis (67pts) shutout the Kings tonight 1-0. Nashville (66 pts) plays St Louis on Saturday night.
– Next game see’s the Hawks back on the road as they travel to Colorado on Tuesday night.