CALGARY — Perhaps the Calgary Flames have finally found a crack in the ’Bulin Wall.
The Flames had been pretty much at wit’s end with Chicago goaltender Nikolai Khabibulin heading into Monday night’s pivotal Game 3 of this Western Conference Quarterfinal series.
With a save percentage of .930 during Games 1 and 2 at the United Center, Khabibulin had pushed his lifetime record to 24-5-2 against the Flames, owning more victories against Calgary than any other National Hockey League opponent.
But Monday night, it was Rene Bourque’s ugly goal that broke the game open and propelled the Flames to a 4-2 victory at the Pengrowth Saddledome.
"We've got to get pucks and players to the net if we we want to be successful against him," said Flames forward David Moss, who bagged a pair of third-period goals. "The more we do that, hopefully we get the bounces. Tonight, we got a few."
With time ticking down in the second period and the score knotted 1-1, Bourque skated around the net, curled out front and threw a harmless-looking shot at Khabibulin.
But the Russian netminder had his blocker on the ice, and the puck caromed off the paddle of his stick across the goal line for a lead Calgary would not relinquish.
"He's a world-class goalie. He’s a great goalie," said Eric Nystrom, who scored Calgary's first goal. "The way you beat him is just to put pucks there. It’s eventually going to go in. You’ve got to put bodies there, too, and I think we did a great job of that tonight."
Khabibulin made 24 saves Monday, compared to Calgary counterpart Miikka Kiprusoff's 36-save effort. The Blackhawks goalie left a big rebound on an Adam Pardy shot that Moss promptly slammed home for the eventual winner, as Calgary went up 3-1 early in the third.
"That second goal (by Bourque) turned out to be pivotal tonight," said Chicago coach Joel Quenneville.