Adam Clendening scored a goal minutes into his NHL debut, Patrick Kane lit the lamp with an unreal sequence later on and the Chicago Blackhawks topped the Calgary Flames, 4-3, on Thursday night. It wasn't a perfect performance from Chicago to start the Circus Trip, but it was enough to snap a three-game winning straight for Calgary.
Clendening, the rookie defenseman who was called up earlier in the week to replace Trevor van Riemsdyk, got his first career highlight as quick as one could ask for. The 22-year-old fired one past Jonas Hiller on the power play just four minutes into the game to tally his first career goal and give the 'Hawks a 1-0 lead.
Minutes later, Daniel Carcillo added to the advantage with an impressive shot off a turnover to beat Hiller up high, and it seemed like Chicago was on its way to a dominant road performance. However, as we've seen several times this season, the lead didn't last long as Calgary scored on back-to-back power plays to tie the game, 2-2.
At that point, the home team settled in to play a tough game, helped by a steady flow of penalties from the usually stingy 'Hawks. Only Nashville has played fewer minutes on the penalty kill this season, but Chicago needed to stop six different Calgary power plays on Thursday night. Obviously, the team failed a couple times early on, which made this a much tougher game than it otherwise would've been.
Kane was once again the big star, though, delivering in the third period with a stunning goal after Hiller turned the puck over behind the net. When you talk about a guy who's deserving of the outrageous money he's set to receive, it's because he does stuff like this -- in the third period of a tied game on the road, no less:
Some of the lines were working Thursday, and some of them weren't, but it's hard to complain considering the highlights we got from a tough road game to start a lengthy road trip. The 'Hawks improve their record to 11-7-1 on the season, and get a little bit closer to the success we envisioned at the start of the season.
The team next plays Saturday night against the Oilers in Edmonton before facing the Canucks in Vancouver the following day.