In recent years, the Chicago Blackhawks didn't have much success putting the puck in the net. That hasn't been the case early on this season.
Chicago looks to continue its strong play on the offensive end Thursday when it meets the Calgary Flames for the first time this season.
During the previous three seasons heading into this one, only Columbus had scored fewer goals than the Blackhawks' 592. Chicago finished second-to-last in the league in 2006-07 with 2.38 goals per game.
It's been a different story this season for Chicago (11-8-1), which is in the top 10 in the NHL with 3.05 goals a contest. Patrick Sharp, Jonathan Toews, Patrick Kane and Jason Williams have keyed the offensive resurgence with a combined 32 goals and 72 points.
The Blackhawks have scored five or more goals in five of their 20 games after accomplishing the feat seven times all of last season. They did it again on Sunday, improving to 4-0-0 against Central Division-leading Detroit with a 5-3 victory in the third game of a six-game road trip.
Chicago trailed 3-2 heading into the third before Sharp scored three times in the period to help the Blackhawks avoid a third straight loss to start the trip. Sharp had one short-handed goal and Rene Bourque added two as Chicago tied a club record with three short-handed goals in a game.
"We're going to be a little more aggressive when we can (while killing penalties)," Chicago coach Denis Savard said. "We got the bounces, let's face it."
Bourque became the eighth Blackhawks player to score two short-handed goals in a game and first since Steve Sullivan in January 2001.
"We had 20 minutes to get back into it," Bourque said. "We hadn't played well in the second period."
Sharp leads Chicago with 10 goals, scoring four in the last two games. He failed to score in four games versus the Flames last season and has just two assists in seven appearances against them.
Calgary (9-9-3) won for the third time in four games Tuesday following a five-game skid, 4-1 at home over Colorado.
The Flames trailed early in the second period, but goals by Owen Nolan and captain Jarome Iginla gave them a 2-1 lead heading into the third. Nolan added another goal and Miikka Kiprusoff stopped nine shots in the period as Calgary won back-to-back home games for just the second time this season.
The Flames improved to 6-5-2 at the Pengrowth Saddledome after finishing a league-best 30-9-2 at home last season.
Nolan, signed as a free agent over the summer, didn't score his first goal for the Flames until Nov. 8, but has four in his last six games.
"I don't think I'm really doing much different, but the puck's going in," he said.
These teams have split four meetings in each of the last three seasons.