Johnny Gaudreau scored two goals, and Garnet Hathaway got the game-winner on an empty net with 70 seconds left in the third to hand the Blackhawks a 4-3 loss Monday night at the United Center. It was the Flames’ sixth straight win against Chicago.
How it Happened?
Before the game, Dennis, the Silver Jet, Hull looked like a speed demon out there during his “One More Shift” tribute. Legend.
Early in the first period, the Calgary Flames top line of Johnny Gaudreau, Elias Lindholm, and Sean Monahan dominated puck possession on their first few shifts. On a 3-on-3 rush into the Hawks zone, Johnny Hockey forced two Hawks defenders out of position and slid a pass to Monahan driving to the net. Collin Delia made a huge stop on Monahan, but the puck found its way to Gaudreau who snuck backdoor during the chaos for an easy tap in.
After the Gaudreau goal, the Hawks settled down and started to generate puck possession, and inevitably earned a couple dangerous opportunities. David Kampf just missed a wide open net by hitting the post dead on, and then Brendan Perlini had his backhand blocked by a Flames defender. Surprised there was not a hook or a hold on Derek Ryan of the Flames on Kampf’s opportunity.
Following some exciting back and forth play that resulted in multiple chances for the Hawks and Flames, Patrick Kane made a special play. Only superstars can score these types of goals.
Kane buried it from nearly an impossible angle for his 24th of the season, assisted by Artem Anisimov and Erik Gustafsson, who extended his point and assist streak to six straight games. Kane also got a chance to celebrate the highlight reel goal with his Dad who was sitting right behind the net.
During the second period, the Hawks and the Flames traded dozens of chances. Kane orchestrated another highlight reel goal with a pass right in the wheelhouse of Alex DeBrincat who wasted no time slapping it into the net. Kane somehow drew four Flames to him and the puck, while the Cat opened up for a one timer that Kane saw from a mile away.
The Hawks then missed a few glorious chances to make it a two goal lead. Brandon Saad swung and missed on a wide open opportunity in the crease, and then Brandon Davidson sprung Kane on a breakaway who got robbed by Flames goalie David Rittich.
Four consecutive penalties burned the Hawks, three of them being committed by Dylan Strome. If you give the Flames four straight opportunities, they will capitalize. Late in the second period, Sean Monahan tied the game on a tic-tac-toe play from Matthew Tkachuk.
Not long after the drop of the puck for the third period, the Hawks turned the puck over during a line change giving Gaudreau a breakaway from the blue line. He squeaked it by Delia through the five hole to give the Flames a 3-2 lead.
The rest of the period was filled with numerous Collin Delia saves to keep the Hawks in the game. There were around seven A+ opportunities for the Flames that Delia soaked up. He continues to be very impressive in his first five starts this season, and has earned the starters job.
With just above two-minutes to go in the final period, Mikael Backlund took a tripping penalty to give the Hawks another chance to tie the game. Artem Anisimov just missed going top shelf on a quick play off the wall, which was set up by Drake Caggiula. Nearly right after Anisimov’s chance, Garnet Hathaway scored on the empty net to give the Flames a 4-2 lead with 50-seconds to go. Saad then miraculously roofed a shot from a couple feet off the boards that flew out of the net. Play went on, but Saad knew he scored his 12th of the season. After the goal was confirmed, the Hawks were only down 4-3 and pushed hard to tie the game.
The Flames held their ground for the win.
1. Johnny Gaudreau - 2 goals, 4 SOG, +2, 18:41 TOI
2. Collin Delia - 39 saves on 42 shots.
3. Patrick Kane - 1 goal, 1 assist, 3 SOG, 21:51 TOI
1. Too many penalties
The Hawks took four straight penalties. Three of them were on Strome. That can not happen in the NHL or you will find yourself down a goal or two. The Hawks have 14 penalty minutes in the last two games.
2. Delia stood on his head
If Delia was not spectacular, the Flames could have won by three or four goals. He made a handful of A+ stops that kept the Hawks within one. Delia has now stopped 197 out of 208 shots in his five starts for a 0.947 save percentage.
3. Hawks are improving
The Hawks are fun and exciting to watch again. They are competitive in almost every game during the past month and are making tons of strides under Colliton. The power play is converting around 20% more of the time compared to the first 17 games under Colliton, the goal differential is inching back up, and offensive production is coming from more than just Kane, Toews, and DeBrincat.