Flames’ late-game magic runs out in 4-3 loss to Blackhawks

 

Calgary couldn’t get the tying goal against a team that has allowed a league-low seven goals in the third period

 
 
 
 
Calgary Flames defenceman Mark Giordano and Chicago Blackhawks centre Jonathan Toews battled along the boards during the second period on Thursday night. The Hawks won 4-3.
 

Calgary Flames defenceman Mark Giordano and Chicago Blackhawks centre Jonathan Toews battled along the boards during the second period on Thursday night. The Hawks won 4-3.

Photograph by: Colleen De Neve, Calgary Herald

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The Calgary Flames, nearing the quarter pole of the 2014-15 National Hockey League season, have been masters of the third period and establishing themselves as late comeback specialists.

Unfortunately on Thursday night against the Chicago Blackhawks at the Scotiabank Saddledome, their magic ran out.

Heading into the clash, the Flames had out-scored opponents 27-12 in the final 20 minutes — and were fresh off an exciting 4-3 shootout victory over the Anaheim Ducks on Tuesday which they’d trailed 2-0 after 40 minutes of play.

But they met their match in the Blackhawks, also an expert in that department, allowing a league-low seven goals in the third period.

Scoring with 10:47 remaining in the final frame and then controlling the hard-working Flames until the end, the visitors spoiled their party with a 4-3 win and snapped Calgary’s three-game win streak at home.

Jonas Hiller, trying to recreate an unbelievable 49-save effort that resulted in a 2-1 overtime victory on Oct. 15, had gone to play the puck to Dennis Wideman who mishandled the puck.

Then, easily dangling around Sven Baertschi’s feet, Patrick Kane expertly put the Hawks ahead and it stayed that way until the buzzer.

With less than four minutes left, Curtis Glencross and Johnny Gaudreau jammed at Corey Crawford’s doors step on a power play — one of Calgary’s seven (!) on the evening — but he slammed the door.

And, for the fans still glued to their seats (and televisions at home), they still couldn’t manage anything in the final seconds.

“It was a tie game there,” Paul Byron said. “Unfortunately, it’s just the way the game goes. You can’t win every one. One bad bounce and it ends up in your net.”

After a slow start to the first period but getting out alive and tied 2-2, the Flames found themselves in more trouble during the second period.

Midway through the frame, Brent Seabrook was all alone in the slot and flicked home a wrister past Hiller to go ahead 3-2.

It didn’t seem to faze the Flames, however, as they quickly responded a few minutes later when a wide-open Sean Monahan one-timed a pass from Curtis Glencross through Corey Crawford’s left side.

Notable, too, was the play of Calgary’s fourth line of Brandon Bollig — playing against his former team for the second time this season — Max Reinhart, and Baertschi. The trio were able to pin Chicago’s big three — Jonathan Toews, Patrick Kane, and Kris Versteeg — in their own zone.

“For the most part,” Glencross said, “we played a pretty good game. A couple turnovers, a couple mental breakdowns they got a couple goals out of. At the same time, we have to take a lot of positives out of that game, too.

“They’re probably one of the best teams in the league and we had a good game with them all night. It could have gone either way.”

But, still, there was something missing from the home side on this night.

“The goals (Chicago) got, without taking anything away from the talent on their team, we were not sharp,” said Flames head coach Bob Hartley. “On every goal, there was a huge mistake. And, as we know, this is a game of mistakes and they have the talent to make you pay.

“It’s too bad, but, hey, (Friday) we’re going to re-crank the big machine and go again.”

Adam Clendening, playing his first NHL game this season, put the Hawks on the board with five seconds left in TJ Brodie’s holding penalty and four minutes into the first period. Only 3:12 later, Dan Carcillo scored Chicago’s second goal on their sixth shot — a weak one allowed by Hiller.

That woke up the home team and soon they took advantage of a Niklas Hjalmarsson’s tripping penalty. Byron hammered home a huge rebound kicked out by Crawford.

Less than a minute later, on another power play, Wideman blasted a point shot which had been set up by Markus Granlund (with Duncan Keith draped all over him) and Johnny Gaudreau.

“We knew we weren’t going to put that kind of game on Jonas again,” said Byron, referring to their previous meeting with the Blackhawks. “He made some unbelievable saves but there was no way we were going to let him have 50 shots again like that.

“For the first five or 10 minutes, we sat back and let them play their game and control the tempo.

“But I think the last 15 minutes, our team played great . . . it could have went either way.”

The Flames, which outshot the visitors 27-22, dropped to 12-7-2 including a 5-3-2 mark at the Scotiabank Saddledome while the Hawks improved to 11-7-1. Calgary rounds out five-game home stand on Saturday against the New Jersey Devils.

“It’s not only about identifying our mistakes,” Hartley said. “It’s about making sure we are very aware of the expectations. We don’t want to lose two games in a row. We’re in a position to respond and we’ve been responding very well since the start. It’s always a new challenge. (Friday) we’re going to rethink the lineup . . . and we’re going to be ready for Saturday.”

kodland@calgaryherald.com

Follow on Twitter/KristenOdlandCH

GAME STORY

At Calgary

Three stars

1. Blackhawks RW Patrick Kane: Responds exactly when his team needs him. Demonstrates why he’s among the league’s elite. Another goal and an assist.

2. Flames C Sean Monahan: Physically dominates the Hawks all night and does well in the faceoff circle against an expert like Jonathan Toews. Applies pressure, shoots often, and is rewarded with a marker in the second frame to tie the game 3-3.

3. Flames LW Paul Byron: Dominating on a line with Josh Jooris and, on this night, Michael Ferland. Small, yes, but no one seems to care anymore. Scores a goal and an assist. Becoming a reliable producer.

Why the Flames lost?

Because their late heroics were finally foiled by a solid Blackhawks team.

Because a slow start finally caught up to them.

The Scratches

Flames: D Kris Russell (lower body), RW David Jones (upper body), RW Brian McGrattan, RW Devin Setoguchi, C Matt Stajan (knee), C Mikael Backlund (abdomen), C Joe Colborne (wrist), LW Mason Raymond (shoulder)

Blackhawks: D David Rundblad, LW Patrick Sharp (lower body), C Andrew Shaw (upper body)

Next Up

The Flames welcome their old friend Michael Cammalleri and the New Jersey Devils to wrap up a five-game home stand before heading on the road for visits to Anaheim, San Jose and Arizona.

 
 
 
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Calgary Flames defenceman Mark Giordano and Chicago Blackhawks centre Jonathan Toews battled along the boards during the second period on Thursday night. The Hawks won 4-3.
 

Calgary Flames defenceman Mark Giordano and Chicago Blackhawks centre Jonathan Toews battled along the boards during the second period on Thursday night. The Hawks won 4-3.

Photograph by: Colleen De Neve, Calgary Herald

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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