CHICAGO (AP) — Jonathan Toews’ first two career playoff goals
were much more than a personal milestone for the 20-year-old
Chicago Blackhawks captain.
The first one got his team back in the game.
The second one, with just 24 seconds to go in the second period,
put Chicago ahead as the Blackhawks rallied for a 3-2 victory
over Calgary on Saturday night in the Western Conference
Now with Toews and goaltender Nikolai Khabibulin leading the
way, the Blackhawks hold a 2-0 lead with Games 3 and 4 of the
best-of-7 series in Calgary on Monday and Wednesday.
“It’s not always the way we drew it up,” Toews said after
Chicago got off to a slow start and then came from behind to win
for the second straight game. “We knew there was a lot of hockey
Toews’ second goal of the period came on a rebound with only 24
seconds remaining in the second and made it 3-2.
“It was kind of a fresh start for us. It was a great second
period and an even better third, knowing we held them off for so
long,” Toews added. “The last two games have been incredible
When Calgary’s Miikka Kiprusoff stopped a hard slapper from the
left circle by Dave Bolland, the puck bounced off of him. Toews
was right there to knock it in and give the young Blackhawks the
Khabibulin made it stand up with some stellar stops in the third
before finishing with 30 saves. Kiprusoff also stopped 30 shots.
“We established a good road game. We took the lead, played with
a lot of authority in the first period,” Calgary coach Mike
Keenan said. “We expected them to come back and push us hard,
which they did. … We didn’t respond like we needed to. They
were able to take the game back in the second period.”
Jarome Iginla and Adrian Aucoin gave the Flames a 2-0 lead in
the opening period, momentarily quieting another raucous crowd
at the United Center. But for a second straight game the Flames
couldn’t hold a lead.
“We didn’t make plays on the puck and we were getting pushed off
it. That’s unacceptable,” Iginla said. “Nobody’s happy here. We
know we let not only one game, but two games slip away and we’ll
see what we can do and what we’re capable of.”
Chicago responded with the power-play goal from Toews early in
the second and a tying score from Patrick Sharp before taking
“Down 2-0 in your own building is not anything you are looking
for,” Chicago coach Joel Quenneville said. “I liked the way we
battled back. … After the first period we weren’t happy. We
knew we had a power play in our back pocket. That was pivotal
for us. We got some huge momentum off that.”
The Flames were 0-for-43 on the power play over their final 10
regular-season games and 0-for-3 in Game 1 before Iginla
converted. Dion Phaneuf fired a shot from the point, and after
teammate Mike Cammalleri had a chance in-close, Iginla followed
in the rebound past Khabibulin for a 1-0 lead.
With both teams a man down, the Flames made it 2-0 when former
Blackhawks defenseman Adrian Aucoin shoveled in a shot from the
crease after the puck bounced off Chicago defenseman Duncan
Keith’s stick and went under Khabibulin.
But on a power play 46 seconds into the second period — the
penalty started near the end of the first — Toews took a nice
diagonal pass from Sharp and easily pushed it past Kiprusoff to
cut it to 2-1.
“That to me was the big goal of night for us. It ignited the
building and ignited our team,” Quenneville said.
Sharp tied it with just under six minutes to go in the second
when he streaked to the net ahead of the Calgary defense and
took a pass from Patrick Kane for the goal.
Khabibulin then turned away four shots on a Flames power play,
and minutes later Toews put Chicago ahead.
Early in the final period it was Khabibulin making a great save
on a close-in attempt by Olli Jokinen and another with his leg
minutes later to stop Rene Bourque to keep Chicago ahead.
He made another big stop with 1:47 left when he turned away
another shot by Jokinen.
“He was spectacular,” Quenneville said of Khabibulin, who beat
Calgary in the 2004 Stanley Cup finals while with Tampa Bay.
Just like Game 1, Calgary came out aggressively and banged the
Blackhawks around on the boards. Chicago’s Martin Havlat, who
scored two goals in the opener including the winner 12 seconds
into overtime that provided a 3-2 victory, was a prime target
for the Flames’ hard checking, as was Kane.