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Blackhawks 2, Flames 1 @NHLdotcom

CALGARY, Alberta (AP) -The Chicago Blackhawks are at their best when they're down a man.

Patrick Sharp's fifth short-handed goal of the month early in the third period sent Chicago to a 2-1 victory over the Calgary Flames on Thursday night.

The Blackhawks also got a short-handed goal from Jacob Dowell in his NHL debut.

"We're aggressive all over the ice, we're blocking a lot of shots, and we have good speed with our forwards," Sharp said. "Put all that together, throw in a little bit of luck and a few good bounces."

Jarome Iginla scored for Calgary, which had given up one short-handed goal in its first 21 games. The Flames are 3-7-0 in their last 10.

Calgary was controlling the puck in Chicago's end when Iginla's pass back to the blue line skipped over the stick of Flames defenseman Adrian Aucoin. That allowed Sharp to take off in the other direction and he made a quick move to his forehand before tucking his 11th goal of the season behind Miikka Kiprusoff.

"A horrible bounce," Aucoin said. "Iggy made a good pass, it was flat, then it just skipped at the last moment. It was just bad luck."

Sharp's five short-handed goals this season equal the total for Ottawa - the league's next-best team - in that category. Chicago leads the league with 10.

The Blackhawks are 7-2-1 in their last 10 games and 2-1-1 on a six-game road trip, which continues Saturday night in Edmonton.

"We took our beatings for a couple years in Chicago and winning's certainly new to this team in here - and it's unbelievable. It's so much fun," Sharp said.

Chicago coach Denis Savard hopes his team can keep it going until a few veterans return from injury. Martin Havlat, for one, has missed 20 games with a shoulder injury.

"With all the guys going down, it's getting tough. We're pretty thin," Savard said. "It's difficult when you have to slot certain players into certain positions and move them up a couple slots, but we've just got to hang in there."

The Flames pressed for much of the third period, outshooting Chicago 15-2 in the final 20 minutes, but couldn't get the tying goal past Nikolai Khabibulin, who finished with 30 saves.

"You can talk about the short-handed goals all you want, but without Nik tonight the Flames come away with those two points," Sharp said. "He takes a lot of heat, but it's not warranted. We give up a lot of scoring chances and he stands on his head a lot of nights. His numbers might not be amongst the league leaders, but in this room we're confident with him between the pipes."

Kiprusoff stopped 12 shots for Calgary.

"We outplayed them, we just didn't put it in the net and they got the lucky ones," Aucoin said.

The Blackhawks took a 1-0 lead at 5:29 of the second on a bizarre play. As Calgary gained the Chicago zone, the puck was dropped back toward Alex Tanguay at the blue line. But he purposely let the puck slide through his legs, apparently expecting someone to be behind him. Instead, the puck slid to center ice where it was scooped by Dowell, who broke in alone on Kiprusoff and scored on a deke to his forehand.

The 22-year-old Dowell was recalled Monday from Rockford (AHL) along with Kris Versteeg to fill in for injured forwards Rene Bourque (broken thumb) and Jason Williams (groin).

"It's a great feeling. I've worked hard and it's finally paying off, getting my chance here," said Dowell, the first NHL player from Eau Claire, Wis. "I know it's a cliche, but every kid dreams of being able to play in the NHL."

Iginla scored his 13th of the season on Calgary's next power play, taking a pass in the slot from Dion Phaneuf at 12:17 of the second.

Notes: Iginla played his 800th game. He's second on the Flames' career list behind Al MacInnis (803). ... Versteeg also made his Blackhawks debut. ... Bourque is expected to miss four to six weeks. ... Calgary's Marcus Nilson (concussion) missed his second game.

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