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Flames end season-long drought against Blackhawks in 4-2 victory

The Hockey News

The Hockey News

CALGARY - The Calgary Flames ended their season-long drought against the Chicago Blackhawks and also earned breathing room in their playoff series with a 4-2 win Monday.

David Moss scored a pair of goals to pace the Flames, who had lost their six previous encounters with the Blackhawks, including two losses in Chicago to open the Western Conference quarter-final.

The Flames still trail the Blackhawks 2-1 in the best-of-seven affair with Game 4 set for Wednesday in Calgary (10 p.m. ET).

"It will hopefully give up a little bit of momentum," said Moss, who has three goals in three playoff games. "We certainly weren't dwelling the fact we were 0-6 versus them.

"We just had to win tonight. Going into Wednesday, we'll have the same attitude. We just have to win one and get the series back."

The team that scored first in each game of this series has been the loser. After failing to protect leads in Chicago, it was the Flames who came from behind with four unanswered goals after Patrick Sharp scored on a power play just over two minutes into the game.

Rene Bourque and Eric Nystrom also scored and Curtis Glencross added two assists for the Flames in front of a euphoric, red-clad 19,289 at Pengrowth Saddledome.

Chicago's Martin Havlat scored late for his third goal in as many playoff games. Captain Jonathan Toews had two assists.

"Now we know what to expect," Toews said. "It was a tough night playing in this building, a lot adversity. We just have to learn how to overcome that a little bit better.

"Every guy on the bench, everyone's got to be yelling a little bit more and be ready to go. We just have to use this as fuel for the next night."

Blackhawks goaltender Nikolai Khabibulin has been Calgary's nemesis dating back to the 2004 Stanley Cup final when he was a member of the Tampa Bay Lightning. But the Flames made him look mortal Monday and scored four times on the Russian for the first time since Game 1 of that final.

"He's been pretty good versus us and for us to be successful, we've got to keep putting pucks there and traffic and that's where we can solve him a little bit," Moss said.

Miikka Kiprusoff was the more tested goaltender Monday as he stopped 36 of 38 shots. Khabibulin made 24 saves in the loss and was outplayed by the Finn.

"Even after those couple of losses in Chicago, we thought we could beat them if we played our best game," Kiprusoff said.

Khabibulin failed to seal off the left corner of his net on Bourque's awkward go-ahead goal late in the second period and he gave up a fat rebound that led to Calgary's third goal early in the third.

Chicago forward Patrick Kane was scratched from the lineup due to the flu, according to the team. He was hammered into the boards during Saturday's Game 2 by Bourque and was slow to get up.

Kane had 70 points during the regular season and one assist in his first two playoff games.

"He's a big part of our team, he finds a way to get on the scoresheet all the time and he really balances out our scoring line so he was a big loss for us tonight," Sharp said.

When asked about Kane following the game, Chicago head coach Joel Quenneveille said: "He should be fine."

With the game winding down and out of reach for Chicago, the post-whistle scrums became nastier. With 13 seconds left in the game, Bourque was cross-checked hard by Blackhawks winger Adam Burrish, who received a misconduct.

The Flames ended a 0-for-46 power-play skid in Game 2, but they were unproductive again Monday, managing just two shots on back-to-back power-play chances early in the second period.

After Sharp's goal at 2:03, Calgary penalty killers buckled down and killed off six Chicago power-play chances, including three in the third period.

Moss's second goal of the third period put the home team up 4-1 at 4:24. He tipped a pass from Glencross between Khabibulin's pads.

Moss had given Calgary a two-goal cushion at 1:18 when Khabibulin couldn't control an Adam Pardy shot and Moss put the rebound just under the crossbar from the high slot.

Second periods were Calgary's downfall in their first two losses in Chicago and that was almost the case Monday.

Bourque's goal at 17:07 of the second was a gift for the Flames, who were getting beaten to the puck by Chicago. Circling out from behind the net, he put the puck on Khabibulin and banked it off the Chicago goalie's skate and in for a 2-1 lead.

Bourque missed the last 24 games of the regular season because of an ankle injury, but the Lac La Biche, Alta., native shook off game rust to give Calgary a timely goal. He and Moss led the Flames in shots on goal with five each.

The defensive pairing of Brent Seabrook and Duncan Keith held Flames captain Jarome Iginla to two shots.

"Contributions need to come from all four lines," Moss said. "We had a bit more of a complete effort tonight. It's huge to see guys like (Nystrom) get a goal."

Calgary dodged trouble in the first period when Kiprusoff reached back in time to grab a loose puck heading for the goal-line as Troy Brouwer crashed the net. Toews hit the cross-bar on Chicago's third power play of the period.

Nystrom pulled Calgary even at 1-1 with his first career playoff goal at 6:40. Glencross sent a cross-ice pass from the boards to Nystrom and his wrist shot from the face-off circle beat Khabibulin glove side just 18 seconds after Calgary had killed off its second penalty of the game.

The Blackhawks scored first for the first time this series. While Calgary had solid opening periods in Chicago, the Blackhawks had them scrambling with a flurry of shots on Kiprusoff in the opening two minutes.

Olli Jokinen was slapped with a roughing penalty at 1:53 and six seconds after the ensuing faceoff, Sharp gave Chicago the lead.

He finished a tic-tac-toe passing play started by Havlat. Toews's goal-mouth pass had Kiprusoff committing to him and Sharp buried the puck behind the Calgary goalie with a sharp-angled shot.

Notes: Monday's Game 3 was Chicago's first road playoff game since April 25, 2002, when they lost 5-3 to St. Louis . . . Flames forward Warren Peters made his NHL playoff debut. He was rotated into the lineup in place of Jamie Lundmark . . . Colin Fraser of Sicamous, B.C., replaced Kane in the lineup . . . The last time Chicago won a playoff series was a 4-0 sweep of Calgary in the 1996 conference quarter-finals.



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