In the final hours of 2019, Patrick Kane and Robin Lehner led the Blackhawks to a 5-3 win over the Flames on Tuesday at Scotiabank Saddledome. It was Chicago’s first win over Calgary since Nov. 18, 2016.
Alex DeBrincat, Dylan Strome Olli Maatta and Kane scored for the Blackhawks and Lehner made 41 saves on 44 shots in his sixth straight start with a win.
Kane added two assists to his two-goal performance and notched four points for the second time in December as the Blackhawks won their fourth straight road game and claimed their sixth win in the last eight games.
How it Happened
The Blackhawks had an impressive first period on the road. Chicago won puck battles all over the ice, forced turnovers by swarming the puck, made tape-to-tape passes and drove puck possession away from Robin Lehner.
Chicago opened the scoring with three straight goals in the first 13 minutes and Kane factored in all three of them. Showtime had the puck on a string out there and looked dominant.
On the first goal, Dylan Sikura forced a turnover in the right slot with a good stick deflection and the puck bounced to Kane on the wall. Kane circled back and found Maatta wide open streaking into the high slot. Maatta caught the pass in stride and snapped it past David Rittich:
Less than two minutes later, Chicago got a power play chance after Dominik Kubalik drew a holding penalty from Derek Ryan. Jonathan Toews found Kane with a cross slot pass. Kane faked a shot and then threw the puck down to Dylan Strome to the right of the net. Strome gave it to DeBrincat in the low slot who buried it for his tenth goal of the season:
Kane then notched his third point of the first period and broke his three game goalless streak. Ryan Carpeneter took a hit to make a play in the defensive zone and snapped a breakout pass to Sikura. Kane then received a nice zone entry pass from Sikura, cut across the high-slot and fired a wrister past Rittich with the help of a screen from a Flames defenseman:
Like the rest of the Blackhawks, Lehner was on his game in the first period. He made ten saves, including a highlight reel diving stop with his stick on a wide open net opportunity from Johnny Gaudreau:
Although Calgary had five high-danger scoring chances in the opening period, the Blackhawks held a 22-16 shot attempt advantage over the Flames after 20 minutes.
In the second period, Dylan Strome added a goal during a 4-on-4 after Connor Murphy made a slick pass to DeBrincat to get out of trouble in the defensive zone. DeBrincat started a 3-on-2 rush with Strome and Erik Gustafsson and then found Strome with a cross slot pass as Gustafsson drove the net through Calgary’s defensemen. Strome drifted into the slot and fired a wrister top shelf to secure his fifth point in three games:
Lehner also showed why he is an elite goalie multiple times throughout the middle frame. He made 15 saves on 16 shots and stopped four high-danger chances from the Flames who certainly made a strong push after Strome’s goal. Here’s a great save on Elias Lindholm who nearly scored a backdoor feed from Gaudreau:
The Flames made it a bit nerve-racking in the third period with two goals in the last five minutes of the game.
The momentum swing seemed to start after Kane was rocked by Sam Bennett who recorded six hits:
Then near the end of a Chicago power play, Duncan Keith made an unfortunate turnover behind the net right to ex-Blackhawk Michael Frolik:
The Flames pulled Rittich for an empty net and after sustained pressure in the offensive zone, Matthew Tkachuk was able to drive to the front of the net from below the goal line too easily. Sean Monahan cleaned up the rebound to make it a one goal game with 3:12 minutes to go:
Monahan makes it 4-3. Gah. pic.twitter.com/hi8IVOqo9e— Second City Hockey (@2ndCityHockey) January 1, 2020
Not much later, Milan Lucic cross checked Connor Murphy for the second time of the game with no call...
Calgary then threw everything they had at the Blackhawks in the final minute, but somehow this scoring chance didn’t go in and Kane sealed the win with his fourth point of the game with an empty netter:
Chicago improves to 18-17-6 and are four points out of the second wild card spot in the Western Conference. Happy New Year Blackhawks fans!
1. Patrick Kane (CHI) - Two goals, two assists, six shots, 19:30 TOI
2. Robin Lehner (CHI) - 41 saves on 44 shots, ten high-danger saves
3. Sam Bennett (CGY) - One goal, four shots, six hits