CHICAGO, Ill. – Not that the Chicago Blackhawks needed to prove anything going into the playoffs with two games left but it was a good night as the Hawks actually gained momentum. They defeated the visiting Calgary Flames by the score of 3-1 in front 22,048 fans at the United Center.
With their last game of the season and nothing to play for but pride, the Flames played most of their prospects that were called up from the Abbotsford Heat. They played gallantly but were definitely out of their league tonight playing the Presidents’ Trophy winning Hawks.
The Hawks got the scoring going in the first as Patrick Sharp had his shot stopped by Calgary defender in front of the net only to take the rebound back and shuttle it over to Patrick Kane who swept the puck in past goaltender Joey MacDonald at the 9:39 mark. The goal placed Kane in the team lead for goals at 23, one in front of team captain Jonathan Toews.
Not wanting to be outdone by Kane, Toews scooped a rebound shot by Brandon Saad and backhanded it in while skating through between MacDonald and the net. In the period the Hawks outshot the Flames by a margin of 13-5.
Halfway through the second and one-man short on the ice, the Flames cut the lead in half as he took a shot just in within the blueline and one-timed it in past Corey Crawford. The Flames played much better in the second outshooting the Hawks 13-12.
But the Hawks woke up in the third and played the simple game and getting one more goal. Center Marcus Kruger stopped his 32 game goal-less streak as he scored on a quick wrister unassisted on the Calgary turnover.
Three Stars of the Game
Third Star: Chicago Blackhawks Center Jonathan Toews with the game winning goal
Second Star: Chicago Blackhawks Right Wing Patrick Kane with a goal
First Star: Chicago Goaltender Corey Crawford with the win on 26 saves
The Blackhawks now take a late night charter to head off to St. Louis to face the Blues on Saturday night in the regular season finale before the start of the Stanley Cup Playoffs. The Hawks still do not know who their first round opponent will be as Columbus, Detroit, and Minnesota are still battling for the last two spots.