Flames 3, Blackhawks 2

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CALGARY, Alberta (AP)—After scoring the game-winning goal, Matthew Lombardi gave Darren McCarty all the credit.

Lombardi scored with 7:04 left in the third period Monday to give the Calgary Flames their third straight victory, 3-2 over the Chicago Blackhawks.

McCarty raced into the Blackhawks zone and beat defenseman Jassen Cullimore to a loose puck behind the net. While fending him off with one hand, McCarty slid a pass in front to a wide open Lombardi, who neatly deked goalie Craig Anderson and put the puck into an open net.

“Mac did an awesome job,” Lombardi said. “I saw him wheeling down there and he got to the puck first and then battled it out and then a one-handed pass, it was great. I was all alone and he gave me all the time in the world so hats off to him.”

It was the second goal of the season and second in as many games for Lombardi, who missed 24 games with a sprained ankle.

“We got caught watching the puck and it ended up in the back of our net,” Chicago center Mark Bell said. “We played hard and we had enough chances to score tonight, but we have to eliminate leaving our goalie high and dry.”

Jarome Iginla and Kristian Huselius also scored for Calgary, which leads the Northwest Division and moved within three points of the Detroit Red Wings for first place in the Western Conference.

Jim Vandermeer and Kyle Calder scored for Chicago.

The Blackhawks lost their seventh straight despite the return of left wing Tuomo Ruutu, sidelined since Nov. 1 with an injured back, and the debut of right wing Radim Vrbata, acquired Friday in a trade with Carolina.

“We’re generating chances, but we don’t have the guys that are going to skate from end to end and go around guys and score goals, that’s just the way it is,” Bell said. “We have to get the puck in deep and get some pucks to the net and get some ugly goals.”

Chicago held a 37-21 edge in shots but ran into a strong goaltender in Miikka Kiprusoff, who made 35 saves to win his fifth straight game and improve to 21-10-4.

Anderson dropped to 2-4-1 in his second straight start with Nikolai Khabibulin sidelined with a groin injury.

Huselius gave Calgary its first lead 3:27 into the second period when his shot from behind the net bounced in off Anderson’s back. The lead lasted just 40 seconds as Calder put in a rebound of a shot by Vandermeer.

Chicago opened the scoring at 7:09 of the first period when Vandermeer’s high shot from the blue line got past a screened Kiprusoff. Calgary tied it 1-1 on Iginla’s goal at 17:48.

The Flames’ victory was tempered by the loss of two forwards, as Marcus Nilson was knocked out of the game in the first period after a hard hit from Ruutu, and Byron Ritchie injured a knee early in the third.

“We hung in there this afternoon with a deflated lineup and I was proud of them,” Flames coach Darryl Sutter said.

Notes

Ruutu played on a line with C Tyler Arnason and LW Martin Lapointe while Vrbata skated with LW Calder and C Bell. … Vrbata had been a healthy scratch his final 11 games with Carolina. … Huselius has 16 points (five goals, 11 assists) and is a plus-7 in 13 games since being acquired from Florida one month ago. In his 24 games with the Panthers, Huselius had eight points (five goals, three assists) and was a minus-11.

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Three Stars

  Game Winning Goal
M. Lombardi M. Lombardi
Calgary Flames
Scored at 7:04 of 3rd

Goaltending

Goalie Team Shot Save
Craig Anderson Ott 21 18