The Chicago Blackhawks had won 13 consecutive games against the Calgary Flames at the United Center, but thanks to a shot from the point by Kris Russell that eluded Corey Crawford, the Flames ended that streak with a 3-2 overtime victory on Sunday night.
Patrick Kane and Marian Hossa had the goals for the Hawks, but it wasn't enough as Flames rookie Reto Berra stopped 42 shots en route to winning his first career start.
The game started out just the way the Blackhawks wanted it to, with the pace high and tons of shots being fired in on the rookie goaltender. Unfortunately for Chicago though, they never could get much pressure on the front of the net, and as a result most of their shots ended up being one and done affairs. They had 18 shots total in that period, but none of them ended up beating Berra, and they went into the first intermission with the score tied at 0-0.
The second period got off to a similar start for the Hawks, but with one notable difference: the Flames couldn’t clear the puck out as quickly as they had in the first period. Even still though, Berra stood tall until Kane came calling. The Hawks’ forward took the puck in the offensive zone, skated all the way along the blue line to the boards, and then cut in to the middle of the ice when the Flames’ defense opened up a lane. Kane exploited that movement, and fired a picture perfect shot past Berra as he gave his team a 1-0 lead.
That lead wasn’t in place for long, however. The Flames ended up scoring just 50 seconds later, as Dennis Wideman took a big shot from the point, and Mike Cammalleri deflected it past Crawford to tie the game at 1-1. On that play, Hawks defenseman Niklas Hjalmarsson allowed Cammalleri to set up camp in front of the net, perhaps thinking that he should leave an open lane for Crawford to see the shot coming, but the veteran sniper had other ideas, and after a short video review, the goal was upheld.
The Blackhawks continued to dominate both in terms of the tempo of the game and in puck possession, but despite their best efforts, they still couldn’t get a shot past Berra. After two periods, Chicago had 30 shots on goal, but the game was still tied 1-1 as the frame concluded.
The third period started out with the Hawks getting a couple of good chances, but it was the Flames who were able to score first. After getting a beautiful stretch pass through the neutral zone from Chris Butler, it was Curtis Glencross who came into the offensive zone in a one-on-one battle with Sheldon Brookbank. It was Glencross who got the better of the exchange though, ripping a gorgeous wrist shot over Crawford’s glove to give Calgary a 2-1 lead.
The Hawks continued to pound away at the Flames’ defense in the third period, getting more rebound chances in front of the net but still were unable to put any of them away. Their luck changed a bit late in the period, as the Flames committed back to back penalties to give Chicago a lengthy 5-on-3 power play.
Despite the numerical advantage, the Hawks had some trouble getting things started, moving the puck around slowly and allowing the Flames’ defenders to maintain their coverage diamond. After a successful clear, the Hawks finally got some passing, and when Hossa got the puck in the slot, he did not miss, and the Hawks tied the game at 2-2, a score that held up through the end of regulation.
Early in the overtime period though, the Flames were able to capitalize on a great shot from the point, as Kris Russell managed to get a shot to deflect off of Andrew Shaw’s leg, and it eluded Crawford top shelf to give the Flames a 3-2 overtime victory.
The Hawks will head to Washington on Monday to participate in a ceremony with President Barack Obama, then will hit the ice again on Wednesday night when they return to the United Center to take on the Winnipeg Jets.