CALGARY – The Calgary Flames’ offence finally came to life against one of the NHL’s top teams.
Curtis Glencross had two goals and an assist as the Flames scored a season-high five goals in a 5-2 win over the Chicago Blackhawks on Friday.
That output was a relief for the Flames (8-9-1), whose offensive capabilities were in question. They’d scored one goal in five of their previous eight games.
Calgary had also won just three games at home before Friday. Glencross took advantage of the goodwill generated by the victory and asked Flames fans to keep faith.
“We haven’t been good at home lately and hopefully we can get more fan support behind us here,” Glencross said. “They’re sticking behind us, but hopefully tonight we can get them to believe in us a little more again.
“Every team goes through their times when pucks aren’t going in for them and it’s huge for the city and the fans to stick behind them. If you’re kind of getting the gears from everyone, it makes it a little tougher and you hold onto your stick a little tighter.”
Lee Stempniak, Rene Bourque and Paul Byron also scored for the hosts, who sat third from the bottom of the Western Conference after the win. Defenceman T.J. Brodie, called up from the AHL on Nov. 9, registered his first NHL point assisting on Stempniak’s goal.
Viktor Stahlberg and Marian Hossa replied for the Blackhawks (12-5-3). The Western Conference leaders dropped to 1-1 on a six-game road trip which takes them north to Edmonton on Saturday.
Miikka Kiprusoff made 30 saves on 32 shots for the win. Chicago counterpart Corey Crawford stopped 21 of 26 in the loss.
“When you play Calgary, it’s about working hard and making it simple and we didn’t do that tonight,” Chicago head coach Joel Quenneville said.
“We always measure what we gave up and what we gave up tonight was our own doing—five goals that were all preventable, the way we have to play or the way we want to play.”
Calgary scored twice in a 17-second span at the start of the second period to take a 3-1 lead. The Blackhawks reduced the deficit with a power-play goal, but Glencross restored Calgary’s two-goal cushion heading into the third.
He put the game away with his second of the night at 6:46 of the third. Olli Jokinen fed him from the boards, and even though Glencross fumbled his first attempt from the centre slot, he hung onto the puck and got a successful shot away from a sharp angle.
The Kindersley, Sask., native gave Calgary a 4-2 lead at 11:04 of the second period, putting in the rebound of a Jay Bouwmeester blast from the blue-line that deflected wide.
The Flames are undefeated this season when leading after two periods. Calgary also improved to 5-0 this season when scoring four times or more.
“It’s been the big knock on us that we haven’t scored goals this year,” Stempniak said. “Goaltending has been good and the defence has been good. We’re just not scoring enough goals to win games.
“Hopefully everyone gets on a roll now. Everyone has been struggling to find the back of the net and if you get one, it’s something to build on.”
Stempniak got the Flames off to a strong start by scoring first on what may be their prettiest goal of the season so far. He turned Blackhawks defenceman Duncan Keith inside out at the blue-line and wired a high shot far side on Crawford at 5:41 of the first period.
“That was unbelievable, especially against Norris Trophy winner like that,” Bourque observed. “You don’t see that happen too often.”
Stahlberg tied game 1-1 at 6:45 of the first period. Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews drove deep down the right late and backhanded the puck to the Swede in the slot.
Toews also had a goal waived off early after banging in his own rebound. Officials ruled Kiprusoff had smothered the puck before he got a second chance at it.
Bourque ended a nine-game drought 40 seconds into the second period, putting Calgary up 2-1. Crawford got a piece of his low shot, but not enough to stop it.
“It’s amazing how much better you feel after you score like that,” Bourque said. “You feel nice and relaxed out there and the game seems a lot easier.”
Byron scored 17 seconds after Bourque with his second in four games since he was called up from the Abbotsford Heat.
The Blackhawks were careless controlling the puck deep in their own zone. The 22-year-old from Ottawa whipped a loose puck by Crawford with backhand shot to make it 3-1 for Calgary.
Chicago got one back as Keith dished the puck across the high slot to Hossa, who wired the puck from the top of the face-off circle at 5:03 of the second.
Toews was irate when Flames defenceman Scott Hannan pulled his helmet off with four minutes remaining in the game.
Calgary embarks on a four-game road trip starting Monday in Columbus. After facing the Oilers on Saturday, the Blackhawks are in San Jose, Anaheim and Los Angeles before hosting Phoenix on Nov. 29.
Notes: Chicago defenceman Brent Seabrook was scratched for a second straight game with a “lower-body injury” he suffered Sunday versus the Edmonton Oilers . . . Calgary avenged a 4-1 loss Nov. 11 in Chicago . . . Calgary’s power-play continues to be a drag on the offence, going 2-for-42 at home.