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02/03/2012
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25FACEOFFS29
16HITS17
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Flames burn struggling Hawks 3-1

Friday, 02.03.2012 / 11:44 PM

CALGARY -- The Chicago Blackhawks will have no problem leaving Alberta in the rear-view mirror when they head to Denver to continue their nine-game road trip.

The Hawks finished the season 0-4-0 in Edmonton and Calgary after Jay Bouwmeester's goal late in the second period stood up as the winner a 3-1 loss at the hands of the Flames at the Scotiabank Saddledome on Friday night.

The defeat, which came one night after they were smoked 8-4 in Edmonton, marks the Blackhawks' fifth in a row overall and seventh straight away from the United Center and dropped their road record below .500 at 10-11-3. Conversely, the Blackhawks are 19-6-4 at the Madhouse on Madison.

"It has nothing to do with it," captain Jonathan Toews said of the home-road disparity. "We're not looking at it like that, whether we play at home or on the road. The way we've been playing lately, we don't deserve to win. None of that really matters to us."

The Blackhawks captain admitted the compilation of losses has caused the club's frustration level to grow.

"It's up there, but it doesn't mean you stop working or stop trying," Toews said. "We all respect each other in this room. Nobody's going anywhere. We just have to find a way out of it. We'll find a way to get out of it and things will start looking better for us soon. We just have to stay with it and stay positive."

The Flames ended a three-game losing streak at home -- one that came after they had won 10 of 11 in their own building. A similar streak on ‘Dome ice would certainly help their playoff chances, according to captain Jarome Iginla.

"More than anything, we just have to climb," Iginla said. "We have to get ourselves on a roll here. We know we need to get over 90 points. We know we need to get on a streak here. It's important to get the winning feeling going and climb. We think we can make it."

They can start their ascent after Bouwmeester broke a 1-1 tie when he struck during the back half of a Michael Frolik double minor for high sticking. Ray Emery denied the big defenseman with his pad on a one-timer in the slot earlier in the sequence, but Bouwmeester put the Flames ahead to stay when he buried a rebound with 1:04 remaining in the middle period.

"I had a few chances on it," Bouwmeester said. "Just the right place at the right time. Standing there, it bounces out and I just put it on the net. Everyone likes scoring goals and doing that stuff so it's nice anytime you can do that."

Both teams used the final 64 seconds to trade opportunities. Blake Comeau couldn't beat Emery from the slot with 20 seconds, while Marian Hossa dropped a puck in the high slot for Patrick Sharp, whose blast stopped by Calgary's Miikka Kiprusoff as time expired.

The teams traded chances again in the third period.

The puck squirted out in front to Brian Bickell five minutes in, but he couldn't slide it through the pads of Kiprusoff. Two minutes later, Olli Jokinen redirected a Iginla pass through the crease and past the far post.

Iginla put the Flames up 3-1 with 7:21 remaining in the game. The Flames' captain got behind the Chicago defense and went one-on-one with Emery, deking the goaltender before sliding the puck into a virtually empty net.

"That one was a great pass, it got (Duncan) Keith right as he was turning through his stick and skates," Iginla said. "I had a lot of time going in and I was just trying to freeze him and pull it backhand and fortunately he did freeze and it was really nice to see that go in because it's a third period goal, a big goal."

After the drubbing at the hands of Sam Gagner and the Oilers in Edmonton 24 hours earlier, the Blackhawks got off to a spirited start against the Flames.

Just 29 seconds into the game, Toews found Victor Stalberg from behind the net, but the Chicago forward couldn't jam it past Kiprusoff on the short side. At the five-minute mark, Kiprusoff turned away Duncan Keith from the slot. A minute later, Kiprusoff flashed the glove to take away a goal from Bickell, one of his 26 saves on the night.

Kiprusoff's early-game heroics served the Flames well with 7:36 remaining in the period when Jokinen wired a shot over the blocker of Emery and off the back bar, putting Calgary up 1-0. Because the puck entered and left the net so quickly, play continued for seven seconds before being whistled down for review.

"I just shot it as hard as I could and it went in," Jokinen said.

But the Flames weren't able to take that lead into the intermission. Patrick Kane saucered a pass through the slot and onto the stick of Brent Seabrook, who beat a diving Kiprusoff with 28.4 seconds remaining in the period to get the Hawks even after 20 minutes.

It was the only goal to beat Kiprusoff, who moved past Mike Vernon to become the Flames all-time leader in games played with 527 games.

"The win is nice there," Kiprusoff said. "It's pretty cool. It's a lot of games here. It was a good win for us too. Back to winning ways at home."
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