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game recap

Monahan scores 15th goal, Flames hand Blackhawks fourth straight loss

Smith wins third consecutive start; Calgary 6-1-1 in past eight

by Scott King / NHL.com Correspondent

Monahan opens the scoring

CGY@CHI: Monahan cleans up rebound on the doorstep

Sean Monahan attacks the net and backhands a rebound past Corey Crawford to give the Flames a 1-0 lead in the 1st period

  • 00:57 •

CHICAGO -- Sean Monahan scored his 15th goal of the season to help the Calgary Flames to a 3-2 win against the Chicago Blackhawks at United Center on Sunday.

Mike Smith made 22 saves in his third straight win. Elias Lindholm had a goal and an assist and Derek Ryan also scored for Calgary (16-9-2), which moved one point ahead of the Anaheim Ducks for first place in the Pacific Division.

"Probably not our best game, to be honest with you," Flames defenseman Travis Hamonic said after Calgary's sixth win in its past eight games (6-1-1). "But we found a way to get through it, found a way to win and come up with some big saves and some big plays at the end."

 

[WATCH: All Flames vs. Blackhawks highlights]

 

Jonathan Toews and Dylan Strome scored and Corey Crawford made 38 saves for Chicago (9-14-5), which has lost four in a row and 15 of its past 18 games.

"We're seeing improvement in parts of our game at times," Toews said. "And then it just seems we make other mistakes and all the good things that we're doing is never good enough. Yeah, it's frustrating when you don't get the results. 

"When you see pucks go in and you get wins, it's just a lot easier mentally to reinforce what you want to do as a team. It's just not happening right now. We can't sit around and sulk and expect things to turn around that way. All you do is you keep working and you stick with it."

Video: CGY@CHI: Ryan beats Crawford through traffic for PPG

Monahan gave the Flames a 1-0 lead at 10:07 of the first period off a rebound after Crawford made an initial save against Lindholm.

Toews tied it 1-1 at 11:33 of the first when he shot it between Smith's pads on a breakaway.

Lindholm made it 2-1 at 7:18 of the second period, 10 seconds into Chris Kunitz's five-minute penalty for elbowing Hamonic. A video review determined Crawford gloved the puck behind the goal line.

Ryan made it 3-1 on the same power play at 8:44 off a pass from Noah Hanifin.

"It's nice to be able to capitalize and make them pay, get two on the major," Hamonic said. "That was the turning point. We were able to get those two and hold on."

Strome's power-play goal cut the Flames lead to 3-2 at 15:45 of the second.

"We've just got to find a way to break out of it," Strome said. "Thought we played a pretty good game tonight, actually. [We] didn't have the best first period, but we held in there and Corey was unreal for us in the beginning and throughout the whole game, obviously. But in the beginning, I think he made 15, 16 saves in the first period so that was obviously important for us to get out of there with a 1-1 tie. 

"We were the better team for the last two periods, but they got the two points. [We've] got to find a way to break out of it and get the win here."

Video: CGY@CHI: Smith uses skate for jaw-dropping save

 

They said it

"It's always hard to play [in Chicago]. I've played enough games in this building to know it's not an easy building to come into and snag two points, so I think any time you can do that, no matter where in the standings, it's always difficult. It was nice to get the two points. I don't think we feel it was our best effort, but the good thing about that is we got two points and we know we can be better, so that's exciting." -- Flames goalie Mike Smith

 

"I thought tonight was better, so we have to tell the truth about that. Regardless of the results, we don't control the results, we control our performance, so let's start playing better and then those things will take care of [themselves]. So that's what we'll deal with and we'll give the guys some feedback and we'll go from there." -- Blackhawks coach Jeremy Colliton

 

Need to know

Monahan has 10 points (six goals, four assists) in his past eight games. … Flames forward Johnny Gaudreau has 12 points (four goals, eight assists) in his past eight games. … The Blackhawks have allowed the first goal in seven straight games. … Toews needs four points for 700 in NHL career. … Chicago ended a six-game streak of allowing at least four goals.

 

What's next

Flames: At the Columbus Blue Jackets on Tuesday (7 p.m. ET; FS-O, SNW, NHL.TV) 

Blackhawks: At the Anaheim Ducks on Wednesday (10:30 p.m. ET; NBCSN, WGN)

Video: Monahan, Lindholm and Ryan score in 3-2 win

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