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Game Rush: Flames vs. Blackhawks

by Torie Peterson / Calgary Flames
FINAL

3-1


CALGARY, AB -- The Calgary Flames were hoping for a bounce-back game after Monday's trouncing at the hands of San Jose. The Chicago Blackhawks had other plans.

The boys from the Windy City handed the Flames their sixth straight loss, a season-high, after a fast-paced game that saw the teams exchange power play goals before the Hawks took control.

Captain Jarome Iginla admitted that the team was over-analyzing plays and pressing instead of playing with instinct and edge.

"I think we were pressing early," he said quietly. "You want to do things. We were all thinking and pressing and (being) a little bit tenative. I thought we got it going about part way through the game where we had a legimate shot there. But there's no question, we weren't as sharp.

"I thought for the most part almost all of us, we were that old saying 'squeezing it a little hard' and not making the passes and looking like we were standing still."

Chicago's speed was a major factor throughout the game and Iginla admitted his team was standing still too often against a team that's known for it's quickness and skill.

"A lot of time when it looks like you're standing still it's because you're thinking and you're trying too hard and you're pressing. It's not secret, it's tough. It's been a tough week on our team and a tough stretch and we have to deal with that."

Patrick Kane kicked off the scoring during the second period while the Hawks were on the power play. His quick wrister just squeaked under Kiprusoff's arm and dribbled into the net.

Not to be outdone, the Flames came back with a power play marker of their own. After sustaining pressure in the Hawks zone with good puck movement, Dion Phaneuf sent one of his patented rockets and while Antti Niemi made the initial stop, Jamie Lundmark was there to make the clutch play. The winger was waiting on the side of the net and tapped in his fourth goal of the season.

The third stanza saw Ben Eager score a weird goal that bounced off his foot and past Kiprusoff. It ended up being the game winner while Duncan Keith put in an empty netter in the dying seconds of the game.

The Flames have a rare weekend devoid of games. They'll hit the ice again on Monday night to take on the St. Louis Blues at the Pengrowth Saddledome. The puck drops at 7:30 p.m. MST Sportsnet West & The FAN 960.

WHY CALGARY LOST
It's not unusual for a team that stuck in a slump to "squeeze the stick" a bit too much and that's exactly what happened on Thursday. The Flames were visibly overthinking plays, trying to make the perfect pass or shot, instead of going on instinct. They didn't put enough pucks on net to pick up rebounds and they played a soft game physically. The Flames only laid nine hits on the Blackhawks through 60 minutes, fair below their usual number.

GAME NOTES
D Aaron Johnson and F Brian McGrattan were healthy scratches ... the Flames played their 10th game in 17 nights and 15th game in 26 nights ... this was the third game of the season series between the clubs. The Blackhawks hold a commanding 3-0 record with one game left before the regular season ends.

THE NUMBERS GAME
Fredrik Sjostrom played in his 400th career game ...the Flames snapped a 0-for-12 span on the power play ... Lundmark has 4 goals this season ... Iginla now has 465 assists in his career, making him just 1 shy of tying Theoren Fleury for 2nd place on the Flames all-time assists leaders ... Mark Giordano had 30 shifts and 2 hits, leading the team in both categories ... the Flames only put 20 shots on net.

QUOTABLE
"Pressing isn't an excuse. It's what happened (tonight)." - Iginla on the team's tenative nature in the loss.

"It looked like when I shot it, it went by his shoulder and I thought it was in. Then I saw it hit the crossbar and bounce down. It was close but that's the thing: now we need them to go in. That would have been a huge turning point to make it 2-2." - Conroy on his close call in the third period.

"When you're not getting contributions offensively, you've got to be rock solid in other areas." - Sutter

HARDEST WORKING FLAMES

Kiprusoff

Jokinen

Bourque
Miikka Kiprusoff
Made several highlight reel saves, gave the club a chance to win
Olli Jokinen
Was a threat offensively, played a good defensive game
Jamie Lundmark
Scored the Flames lone goal, played well on the power play



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