CALGARY – When you’re on a roll, sometimes good things happen. Patrick Kane and the Chicago Blackhawks were proof of that on Wednesday night.
Kane scored twice including the game-winner with 18 seconds left as the Blackhawks, aided by a few lucky bounces, scored three straight goals in the third period to win 3-2 over the Calgary Flames.
Kane’s team-leading 14th and 15th goals give him a career-high 12-game points streak.
“It’s nice to be on a streak like that, try to produce consistently. I think the biggest thing is just to try and go into every game with a clean slate and take it for what it is,” Kane said.
“You have the chance to play with good players, playing on a pretty hot power play right now, you’re going to get some points.”
The game-winner came after Sven Baertschi lost the puck at the Flames’ blue-line. Niklas Hjalmarsson’s shot caromed sharply off the skate of Calgary defenceman Chris Butler and went straight to Kane at the side of the net.
“It just came right to me. I tried to spin around and my first reaction was to try and pass but I ended up flipping it on net and lucky enough, it went in,” Kane said.
Similar good fortune was on his side when Kane ignited the comeback at 9:42 of the third.
Dashing down the left wing, as he attempted to send a centring pass to Andrew Shaw in front, the puck deflected off the stick of Flames defenceman Kris Russell instead and beat a surprised Berra inside the goal post.
“Maybe you think he’s charmed because he makes a play like that and it goes in for him,” said Chicago coach Joel Quenneville. “He does have the puck a lot and eventually he’ll get his turn and he’ll get his A-plus chance. Might not have the A-plus-plus chances tonight but he scored a couple.”
Fifty-six seconds later, Marian Hossa sent a pass into the slot that deflected off Patrick Sharp’s stick and bounced into the net to tie the game.
“Sharp’s goes off his stick. I don’t think he was even ready for it. It just bounces off his stick and rolls in. The last one, not a hard shot either,” said Baertschi. “It’s just one of those games.”
The wild finish erased what had been two-and-a-half solid periods from the Flames and goaltender Reto Berra.
“Reto kept us in the game and he did everything he could then stuff like that happens?” said Baertschi. “There are nights like that where you work really hard for it and you think you deserve it but in the end you walk out with a kick in the butt.”
The league-leading Blackhawks (18-4-4) improve to 4-1-0 with two stops to go on their seven-game road trip.
“I think it’s a group that’s familiar with the situation of being down going into the third period and we’ve been good at coming back and winning games or getting a point out of those games,” said Kane.
Matt Stajan and Sean Monahan with his ninth goal, tying him for the team lead with Mike Cammalleri, replied for Calgary (8-12-4). The Flames are 1-5-2 in their last eight games at home.
Flames coach Bob Hartley said his team was aware all night of Chicago’s quick strike ability.
“That was something we were trying to guard against because number one, we know the firepower of that team. They basically did the same trick to the Vancouver Canucks a few night ago,” Hartley said. “You make a few mistakes and they are so skilled they will make you pay for it and it’s too bad because I thought we played very well and we showed up to play.”
Antti Raanta finished with 20 saves in his first NHL start. Recalled from the minors on Nov. 17 when Nikolai Khabibulin went on injured reserve, he stopped 14-of-16 shots a week ago in Colorado in relief of Corey Crawford in his only previous appearance.
“It was a pretty nice feeling. Didn’t have to go to overtime or a shootout so that’s the main thing,” said 24-year-old Raanta.
“I felt pretty good all game long. Had a couple good saves in the first period and I got that feeling of confidence. Of course, a couple goals just over the pad to the glove side. With those types of goals, you want to catch them for a highlight save but we got three goals and we take two points and that’s the main thing.”
Berra made his 10th start in the last 11 games for the Flames. He finished with 27 saves to fall to 3-5-2.
It was Berra’s second start against Chicago. In his memorable NHL debut on Nov. 3, he made 42 saves in a 3-2 overtime victory at the United Center.
Notes: Hossa returned to the line-up after missing two games for personal reasons… Flames have placed LW TJ Galiardi (back) on injured reserve and recalled RW Max LW Max Reinhart from Abbotsford (AHL) … Calgary D Mark Giordano (broken ankle) is back skating with the club although no return date is known. Teammate LW Curtis Glencross (knee) hopes to be back on the ice next week. The two veterans have missed 16 and nine games, respectively … Flames were coming four days off. Other than the Olympic break, they will not go that long between games the rest of the season.