CHICAGO – Before they could work up a sweat Monday night, the Chicago Blackhawks were trailing the Calgary Flames 5-0.
Their goalie had been benched seven minutes into the game and their fans were giving them an earful for their sloppy play.
“Holy smokes. How we going to fix this?” Chicago defenceman Brent Seabrook asked himself.
“We were embarrassed. Our fans weren’t very happy and they let us know about it. We want to have good starts and we want to help our goaltender out. That was unacceptable.”
The Blackhawks did find a way to fix their situation and pull off an improbable victory against the team they knocked out of the playoffs in the first round last April.
Chicago matched the biggest comeback in NHL history, rallying from the five-goal deficit and beating the Flames 6-5 on Seabrook’s goal 26 seconds into overtime.
“We weren’t playing our game. Once we did, getting forechecking, getting pucks to the net, we realized we could get back in the game and get a win,” Seabrook said.
By rallying from five goals down, the Blackhawks tied the NHL record for biggest deficit overcome, according to the Elias Sports Bureau. The previous club record had been a four-goal rally.
“A pretty amazing game,” Chicago coach Joel Quenneville said. “From the worst to as good as you can get.”
Seabrook picked up the puck and shot it past Miikka Kiprusoff in the overtime and was mobbed by his teammates as the crowd at the United Center rocked.
“A couple guys skated over the puck and it bounced around a little bit. And I just snuck in there, got control and got the shot,” Seabrook said. It was his first goal this season.
The Flames blistered Chicago goaltender Cristobal Huet with first-period goals by Dustin Boyd, Eric Nystrom and Jarome Iginla in a span of 53 seconds, prompting Quenneville to pull Huet for Antti Niemi.
“We weren’t very good in front of him. We know our goaltending has got to be better,” Quenneville said.
But Niemi didn’t fare much better early on, giving up two more quick goals to Rene Bourque and Olli Jokinen as the Flames built a 5-0 lead. Calgary’s five-goal rampage came on just six shots and took only 5:29.
But the Blackhawks regrouped. They got second-period goals from Patrick Kane, Dustin Byfuglien and Dave Bolland to rally within 5-4.
Patrick Sharp sent the United Center into a frenzy five minutes into the final period when he deflected Duncan Keith’s shot past Kiprusoff and tied the game 5-5 .
The Flames were shut out in the final two periods and the overtime.
“We were getting rid of it (the puck) a little too quick, all of us all the way around. When you don’t have composure, that’s the result,” Iginla said.
“It stings all the way through and we’re embarrassed.”
Boyd scored six minutes into the game, taking a nice pass from Brandon Prust after Chicago’s Cam Barker lost the puck behind the net.
Just 34 seconds later, Nystrom converted on a rebound after a shot from top of the slot by Robyn Regehr.
Iginla took a long crossing pass from Jokinen and broke free, beating Huet one-on-one to give the Flames a 3-0 lead as boos poured down at the United Center and Quenneville made the goalie switch.
Right after a faceoff, Bourque ripped the puck past Niemi high on the glove side for a 4-0 Calgary lead. And less than a minute later, Jokinen sent a bouncing puck from the boards and it somehow got past Niemi for a 5-0 advantage.
John Madden’s first goal with Chicago, on a rebound, made it 5-1 late in the first.
Kane scored on a shot from between the circles when Byfuglien screened Kiprusoff to make it 5-2. Kane and Byfuglien combined for another goal that cut Calgary’s lead to two. Kane picked up a loose puck at the red-line, skated up the side and then made a nifty pass to Byfuglien, who beat Kiprusoff.
Less than a minute later, Bolland got a loose puck in the crease and tucked it in the goal on his second try, cutting it to 5-4.
Notes: The biggest deficit overcome by the Blackhawks previously was four goals, most recently in 1989 when they rallied to beat Winnipeg 7-4. … Flames star Iginla sat out the final five minutes of the second period after getting a penalty for fighting Chicago’s Troy Brouwer. … Kane had a goal and two assists for Chicago. … The Blackhawks had a 39-20 shots-on-goal advantage.