CHICAGO - The call that didn't come continued to resonate among the Calgary Flames as they took stock on Friday following their overtime Stanley Cup playoff loss to the host Chicago Blackhawks the night before.
Flames coach Mike Keenan was still steamed that officials missed an apparent goaltender interference call as veteran Martin Havlat's tally gave Chicago a 3-2 victory and a leg up in the NHL Western Conference quarter-finals.
"I think the rule is intended to give the goaltender the ability to make a save," said Keenan during Flames practice at the United Center. "And in this instance Kipper (goalie Miikka Kiprusoff) was not able to make the save because he was interfered with by their player."
Calgary captain Jarome Iginla backed his coach's contention, but also wanted to look ahead to Saturday's Game 2 and a chance to even the series.
"They got away with a little bit more than they should have," said Iginla. "Even on the winning goal, it was pretty close, but it is what it is.
"We want to get back at it. Game 2 is now even more important than Game 1 was and we have a chance to get it."
Chicago capped a come-from-behind victory when Havlat sent a long blast past Kiprusoff just 12 seconds into overtime, much to the delight of a raucous United Center crowd of 22,478.
The Flames claimed Blackhawks' winger Andrew Ladd interfered as the play unfolded. On replays, Ladd had his back to Kiprusoff and appeared to be pushed into the net by Flames defender Jordan Leopold.
"Ladd did not try to stop his movement towards the net and that's goaltender interference," said Keenan. "However, the officials either saw it differently or didn't make the call."
Calgary had the physical edge on a more tentative Chicago team well into the second period and pulled out to a 2-1 lead early in the third as left-winger Michael Cammalleri and centre Craig Conroy raced down the ice on a 2-on-1 play.
Conroy crossed to Cammalleri, who beat Hawks' goalie Nikolai Khabibulin at the three-minute 54-second mark.
But Chicago had already accelerated its own pace by that point and went on to dominate the third period with a 12-4 edge in shots on goal.
One of those shots forced a 2-2 deadlock when Havlat rebounded his own deflected try and sent it past the Flames' Kiprusoff at 14:27.
It's that brisker pace that the Blackhawks hopes to continue on Saturday.
"The way we finished the last period, period and a half, that's how we'll start tomorrow," said Chicago right-winger Adam Burish. "At the same time, they're going to come out with a edge I'm sure.
"It'll be another fun one, another tough test."
The series moves to Calgary for games next Monday and Wednesday. If necessary, Game 5 would be played in Chicago on April 25 with a Game 6 back at the Pengrowth Saddledome on April 27.