Blackhawks win 4th straight after topping Flames

The Sports Xchange
The SportsXchange

CALGARY, Alberta -- Right winger Patrick Kane wasn't simply content to extend his personal points streak.
He extended the Chicago Blackhawks' winning streak, too.
Kane scored the game-winner with 18 seconds remaining as the Blackhawks won a fourth straight contest with Wednesday's 3-2 triumph over the Calgary Flames at the Scotiabank Saddledome.
Kane tallied twice against the Flames and now has collected points in a dozen straight games. Left winger Patrick Sharp had Chicago's other goal, as the Blackhawks stars erased a two-goal deficit in the third period.
"We did a lot of that last year in the playoffs. I think it's a group that familiar with the situation of being down going into the third," Kane said. "We've been good at coming back and winning games or getting a point out of those games. Tonight, it was another example where we didn't quit. We knew we had it in the locker-room to come back in this and try to get a few goals to at least get us a point.
"And we ended up getting two, so it was a good day."
For most of the night, it was Flames goaltender Reto Berra who was the star of the show, threatening to beat the defending Stanley Cup champions for the second time in less than a month.
But Kane spoiled his shutout bid just before the midway mark of the third period, Sharp tied it up 56 seconds later and Kane scored again as the crowd had their fingers crossed for overtime.
Not this time.
Not against the Blackhawks (18-4-4), who are now 4-3 when trailing after two periods and remain atop the NHL standings.
"Reto was outstanding again. He made some big saves," said Flames coach Bob Hartley. "I felt everyone did their job. A few mistakes, but that's why they're Stanley Cup champions -- they make you pay for them."
Berra, who kicked out 42 shots in Calgary's 3-2 overtime win Nov. 3 in Chicago, made 27 stops in Wednesday's meeting.
At the other end, former Finnish League star Antti Raanta earned his first NHL win in his first start for the Blackhawks. The 24-year-old goalie finished with 20 saves, with centers Matt Stajan and Sean Monahan each potting one for the Flames (8-12-4).
"It felt pretty good all game long and I got a good couple saves in the first period and got that kind of feeling," Raanta said. "Confidence was pretty good all the time. Of course, a couple goals were to the glove side and those kind of goals you want to catch, highlight save.
"We take two points and that's the main thing."
After more than a half-hour of scoreless action, Stajan finally broke the deadlock with a slapper from the high slot at the 13:32 mark of the second period, the result of a pretty pass from right winger Jiri Hudler and an uncharacteristic mistake by Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews in his own zone.
Monahan doubled Calgary's lead just 2:05 after the second intermission, collecting a pass from Hudler and snapping a shot past Raanta.
Monahan, the sixth overall pick in the 2013 NHL Entry Draft, is now tied for the team lead with nine tallies. The rookie sensation set up left winger Sven Baertschi with a cross-crease pass just moments later, but the 21-year-old hit the post.
As it turned out, the Flames could have used the insurance.
Kane, who hit the post in the middle stanza, finally put the Blackhawks on the board at the 9:42 mark of the third period, firing a shot that deflected off the stick of Flames defenseman Kris Russell and squeaked by Berra.
Just 56 seconds later, Sharp cruised to the crease and got his stick on a cross-ice pass from linemate Marian Hossa to tie the score.
The Flames were trying to send a fourth straight game to overtime, but Kane scored the winner -- his 15th goal of the season -- with just 18 seconds to go, lifting a backhander over Berra's shoulder to stun the crowd at the Scotiabank Saddledome.
With the win, the Blackhawks swept their four games in western Canada, which also included victories in Winnipeg, Vancouver and Edmonton.
The Flames, meanwhile, couldn't extend their points streak to four games. Prior to Wednesday's battle with the Blackhawks, they were 2-0-1 in their past three.
"We've had a little bit of success gaining some points here, as of late, and tonight definitely feels like we slipped an opportunity to grab at least one," said Flames left winger Michael Cammalleri.
The second-to-last stop for the Blackhawks on this seven-game marathon is Dallas, where they will face off Friday against the Stars.
The Flames are headed to southern California for back-to-back games, starting with Friday's meeting with the Anaheim Ducks.
NOTES: Blackhawks RW Marian Hossa, who missed two games while his wife was hospitalized in Chicago, returned to the lineup. ... The Flames placed RW TJ Galiardi on injured reserve due to back spasms and recalled C/W Max Reinhart from the American Hockey League's Abbotsford Heat to fill his spot on the roster. Reinhart, 21, appeared in two games with the Flames earlier this month. ... Blackhawks D Michael Kostka has now missed 18 straight games due to a foot injury, but he is skating with the team and should be back soon. The defending champs are also without the services of LW Bryan Bickell (lower body) and G Nikolai Khabibulin (lower body). ... The Flames received some good news on the injury front, with captain Mark Giordano skating Tuesday for the first time since suffering a broken ankle. LW Curtis Glencross is also missing from Calgary's lineup due to a knee injury.

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