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Hiller spectacular in first win with Flames

by Aaron Vickers / Calgary Flames

I don’t know, it’s nice to have those stats but at the same time you prepare for every game the same way and try to do your best. Sometimes it works out better and sometimes not. It worked out well tonight.Jonas Hiller

CHICAGO, IL -- Thanks in large part to Jonas Hiller, the Calgary Flames made the most out of their opportunity at the Madhouse on Madison.

Hiller bought the Flames enough time by making 49 saves -- the most by a Flames goaltender since Andrei Trefilov on Jan. 5, 1994 -- while Mikael Backlund’s first of the season at 4:35 of overtime made the effort stand in a 2-1 victory over the Chicago Blackhawks on Wednesday.

“It’s a nice place to play because you obviously see shots and you are kind of always in the game,” said Hiller, who earned his first win with the Flames with the performance. “I don’t know, it’s nice to have those stats but at the same time you prepare for every game the same way and try to do your best.

"Sometimes it works out better and sometimes not. It worked out well tonight.”

Hiller and the Flames were outshot 18-2 after 20 minutes and 34-8 after two periods.

They left Chicago with two points thanks to Backlund’s overtime heroics, which came after Dennis Wideman and Andrew Shaw traded goals in regulation.

“Good ending. Almost like a golf game,” coach Bob Hartley said. “Our drive went in the woods. We took a stroke and we found a way to do a par. You can’t start a game against that team with three, four power plays. I think there was 12 minutes played in the game and we had put them on the power play three times for no good reason.

“Obviously we played with fire. Hills gave us an unbelievable game. Our penalty killing was, I think, the story with Jonas’ performance. They were great. To hold this power play to one goal, we did a great job. I’m very proud.

“Lets not close our eyes on the performance of Jonas, but in this league lots of time the best goalie will dictate who’s going to win and tonight I felt that Jonas was the best goalie.”

Backlund’s game winner came on Calgary’s 18th shot of the game and established a new Flames record for largest shot differential in a win at 32. The previous record came when the franchise was based in Atlanta in a 6-5 win over the Buffalo Sabres on Oct. 17, 1976.

Hiller was more than happy to end the game after nearly 65 minutes of action.

“I was happy that we didn’t have to go to shootout as well,” said Hiller, who finished two saves short of his career best. “I had a little tired legs there at the end. It’s always nice to get it done in overtime instead of shootout. Definitely a big relief and I’m really proud of the team.”

With the workload, Hiller also becomes the first Calgary netminder to make 46 saves in regulation since Fred Brathwaite accomplished the feat in a 1-1 tie against the St. Louis Blues on Dec. 14, 1999. Brathwaite also finished the game with 49 saves.

“You have to be ready,” he said. “Your mind has to be there and everything. My mind might’ve been zoned in but my legs definitely got quite tired there. The one shift I remember. Luckily I had a TV timeout right after. That was kind of good for me. Those things happen.

“For that, you workout in the summer and you practice hard so you try to stay focused even though your legs get tired.”

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