Blackhawks rebound, blank Flames

By Jon Fromi

The Chicago Blackhawks got goals from two defensemen Tuesday night with some help from Patrick Kane. Ray Emery and the defense took care of the rest as the ‘Hawks snapped back from Monday’s loss, defeating the Calgary Flames 2-0.

The Blackhawks had an early opportunity forty seconds in when Niklas Hjalmarsson held a puck in the Calgary zone. Patrick Kane centered to Dave Bolland, but the Rat couldn’t evaluate the puck past Mikka Kiprusof. Bolland took a high stick from Jerome Iginla at the 2:11 mark to set up the first power play of the night. Kane made a nice move late but Viktor Stalberg couldn’t provide the finish thanks to Chris Butler’s skate.

The first goal belonged to Chicago on a play started when Kane attempted to center to Bolland again in the eighth minute. The puck eluded Bolland but was retrieved by Nick Leddy at the left circle. Leddy’s shot glanced off of the left pad of Kiprusoff and into the goal to make it 1-0 7:09 into the first.

Midway through the period, Daniel Carcillo chased down a loose puck and made a beeline to the Calgary net. Kiprusoff stopped the attempt, but the fourth line of Carbomb, Jamal Mayers and Marcus Kruger had a pretty active shift.

There was a lot of action in the last five minutes of the period, starting with a lengthy Flames surge in the ‘Hawks zone. After nearly a minute, Chicago was able to clear the zone. Kruger found Mayers in front of the net, but the tap-in attempt was stopped. A few seconds later, Jimmy Hayes flipped a soft shot that bounced over Kiprusoff’s glove only to clang off the right post.

Kruger drew an interference penalty out of Mikael Backlund with 1:31 to play. The clock ran out without a serious chance on the power play, and Chicago went into the intermission up 1-0.

The Blackhawks had half a minute of power play time to start the second period but could barely cross into the Calgary zone before it expired. Bolland made a strong move to the net in the second minute but the left pad of Kirpusoff denied the shot.

Emery made a nice pad save off of a Lee Stempniak shot after a Kruger turnover. The ‘Hawks got a four-minute power play when Jiri Hudler drew blood on Bolland. Despite several big chances, Chicago could not take advantage.

The Blackhawks controlled the action for much of the second period, limiting Calgary to just three shots on goal. That dominance was finally rewarded with a late goal. Kane went behind the net and found a pinching Brent Seabrook. Seabrook’s shot was an inadvertent change up that fooled Kiprusoff and floated into the net at the 17:48 mark for a 2-0 Chicago lead.

The ‘Hawks ended the period on a power play via a tripping call on Mark Giordano and the final period began with Chicago having almost 90 seconds remaining on that penalty. Calgary killed that time to keep the ‘Hawks in sight.

Andrew Shaw had a good look at the Calgary goalie when he came to the net to take a pass from Bryan Bickell. Kiprusoff prevented the goal, however.

The Flames gained a man advantage in the fifth minute when Bolland was called for tripping but Chicago was able to kill the penalty. As the midway point approached, the Blackhawks continued to limit Calgary’s offensive opportunities. Backlund did get a good look at the net in the tenth minute, but Hjalmarsson laid out on the ice to block the shot attempt.

Jonathan Toews was penalized for hooking with 9:42 left. Highlighted by a great individual effort by Michael Frolik, Chicago kept the Flames out of the net.

The Blackhawks kept the pressure on Kiprusoff in the final minutes, with Brandon Saad getting to a loose puck and turning on the jets to get a shot on goal. Calgary pulled Kiprusoff with 90 seconds to play. Even with the extra skater and penalties on Seabrook and Bolland in the final seconds, Hjalmarsson was able to clear the puck. This ended any hope for the Flames and gave Emery his first shutout of 2013.

Thoughts:

-Kiprusoff certainly deserved a better fate, stopping 33 of 35 shots. On the other hand, the two goals he allowed were of a soft variety. Still, it would have been a rout if not for Kiprusoff.

-Mike Cammalleri made a puzzling decision to go get a fresh stick with Chicago still in his team’s zone, leading to the second ‘Hawks goal.

-Emery’s last shutout also came against the Flames, though he was with the Flyers at the time back on February 1, 2010. He stopped all 16 shots that came his way. Calgary had limited opportunities but Razor made a couple of key saves.

-I pity the fool who didn’t get a kick out of Mr. T coming up big in Shoot The Puck.

-Bolland had a couple of scoring chances in front of the net and a couple of sticks in his face. Not a particularly lucky night, though he was pretty active.

-Seabrook has three goals in his last seven games, but it’s the other end of the ice that should draw concern.

-Chicago now has a couple of days off before hosting a rematch with Anaheim Friday night.

Jon Fromi

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