The Calgary Flames found the back of the net, and found the back of the net often on Friday night, taking a 7-2 win at home over the Chicago Blackhawks. It was a strong game pretty much from start to finish for the home side, and thanks in part to a three goal night from Jarome Iginla, the Flames snapped a three game losing skid and did it against a pretty good opponent.
Well, it certainly didn’t start well, as Jack Skille potted his third of the season just 6:12 into the first period…it was a softie past Miikka Kiprusoff and put the Blackhawks up 1-0 early on. But Calgary responded and put two past Chicago’s Marty Turco before the opening frame was up. Niklas Hagman scored his 5th at 8:52 after the Hawks coughed up the puck three consecutive times in their own end; David Moss got his second on the powerplay at 12:28, doing a nice job in front of the net to put the Flames up by one after 20.
The second period belonged to the captain, as he scored twice in the middle frame, with the first coming at 10:01 on a nice rush into the offensive end. After Calgary went up 3-1, it started to seem like maybe the Hawks would get themselves back in the game, as it was one of the only times on this night the Flames would play soft hockey. But Calgary took advantage of a powerplay late in the second, and it was a key goal at a key time…Iginla’s fifth of the season at 18:42 gave the Flames the breathing room they needed heading into the final frame.
The third period was largely a non factor, but the postive I take from it was pointed out to me by Kent…even though the Hawks were down, Calgary still managed to keep the chances even in that final frame. What does that mean? Well, it means that the Flames didn’t really give the Hawks much at all. Good stuff. Overall, scoring chances were 21-17 in favor of Calgary, and 15-13 at even strength. In that third, Brendan Morrison (fourth) and Curtis Glencross (sixth) each scored, while Iginla completed the hat trick at 18:10…his first trick since March of last season. Troy Brouwer scored Chicago’s goal, with 20 second remaining.
One Good Reason…
…why the Flames won? Because they were better, start to finish. Even when Chicago’s big guns were on, they weren’t dominating because the Flames did a nice job of keeping them to the outside. Jonathan Toews has the ability to take games over, and he was never once given the chance. I really liked how Calgary played physically against this Hawks team, and they made life difficult. The Flames were better at even strength, they were better on the powerplay (two goals) and they were perfect on the two times they found themselves shorthanded.
Iginla had the hat trick, but I really, really liked Niklas Hagman. He was on a line with Rene Bourque and Niklas Hagman in this game, and that line saw a lot of time against the Toews/Kane unit. Hagman scored once, and was screening in front on Iginla’s second…plus, he did a strong job against a tough matchup.
Sum It Up
It’s a big win for Calgary, and they needed it heading into a five game win streak with those games being played in seven days. It’s a mental block broken…snapping an eight game losing streak to the Hawks, and maybe…MAYBE…it gets them going on the right track heading into this trip.