The Calgary Flames erased a one-goal deficit in the third to overcome the Chicago Blackhawks, snapping their six-game losing streak in a resilient, morale-boosting 4-3 overtime win at the Saddledome.
After being snakebitten for the first three periods, Sean Monahan finally got the better of Jeff Glass in overtime, securing the win for the Flames. It was Monahan’s 10th career overtime goal, and NHL-leading eighth game-winning tally of the season.
Monahan had eight shots in the game, all of which from dangerous scoring positions.
Monahan exhibited his quick release just over a minute in, forcing Glass to flash his glove for a big early save.
Patrick Kane had Chicago’s first two decent chances, with Mike Smith showing poise early.
Nicholas Schmaltz opened the scoring from one timer, the American’s shot arrowing into the roof of the net. Monahan had his pocket picked by Kane on the end boards, whose feed to Schmaltz led to the goal. It was Schmaltz’s 15th of the season.
The Flames rebounded well after conceding the goal, a positive sign after suffering six losses on the bounce.
Monahan had a golden opportunity to draw level minutes later, but couldn’t beat Glass, who leapt across the goal to make the desperation save. A frantic few minutes saw both sides share chances, with Smith and Glass coming up big for their respective teams.
Johhny Gaudreau then got in on the action, leading a three-on-one. He waited for Glass to commit, but couldn’t jam it in at the near post.
It was Matthew Tkachuk’s turn to be turned aside by Glass in the final minute of the period. Tkachuk was left alone in the slot and fired a low wrist shot that Glass somehow found through a maze of players. Glass made blank saves in the first, the only reason Chicago retained their narrow advantage at the break.
Vincent Hinostroza doubled the visitor’s lead on their first power play of the game. Smith wasn’t able to move laterally fast enough and Hinostroza made no mistake with the finish, lifting it into the top half of the net.
Hinostroza almost scored his second moments later off of a Matt Bartowski giveaway. His wicked slap shot hit the crossbar flush and rolled harmlessly under Smith’s equipment.
The Flames made the most of the fortuitous bounce and halved the lead at the 5:56 mark of the period. Travis Hamonic found Matt Stajan with a long, cross-ice pass, whose resulting shot beat Glass and rang in off the post. Two weeks ago, Stajan didn’t have a goal to his name; now the fourth line centre has three, scoring all of them in an eight-game span.
A head’s up pinch by Mark Giordano led to Calgary’s equalizer. Micheal Ferland played a smart first-time backhand pass to Gaudreau in the slot, who managed to squeeze his shot between Glass’ wickets.
The Flames were on level terms for less than two minutes, though, as T.J. Brodie whiffed on the puck at the blue line, handing a breakaway to Anthony Duclair which he capitalized on to restore Chicago’s lead.
You could almost feel a collective gasp from the partisan crowd.
Trailing by one going into the third, the Flames found themselves in an entirely different situation than the previous few games.
Monahan had his fifth point-blank chance of the game saved again by Glass, from an almost identical position in the slot.
But Calgary kept on chugging, their efforts rewarded at the 9:50 mark, with Mikael Backlund pickpocketing Connor Murphy behind the net before swinging the puck in front to a lurking Michael Frolík.
Frolik fanned on the shot, which handcuffed the Blackhawks’ netminder, sliding between Glass’ legs. The goal will help allay any residual negative feelings leftover from the gaffe he made against Las Vegas earlier in the week.
Smith made a huge save on Jonathan Toews before the Flames transitioned the other way to finish the game. Brodie dropped the puck perfectly into Monahan’s path, who drove his wrist shot home from a familiar position in the slot.
The importance of this win cannot be overstated, and the boys should gain a lot of confidence in an otherwise difficult week at the rink.