Blackhawks 3, Flames 1
CALGARY, Alberta (AP)
After Colin Fraser's bad break early in the second period led to a Calgary goal, the Chicago forward quickly made up for it.
Fraser knocked a clearing pass out of the air, leading to Ben Eager's go-ahead goal at 5:52 of the third period in the Blackhawks' 3-1 victory Thursday night.
After Fraser intercepted the puck off the stick of Flames defenseman Adam Pardy, Tomas Kopecky controlled it in the slot and had his shot deflect off Eager's knee and past goalie Miikka Kiprusoff.
Calgary, coming off a 9-1 loss in San Jose on Monday night, tied it with 1:29 left in the second on a power play, striking on what became essentially a two-man advantage when Fraser's stick broke.
Jarome Iginla threaded a pass to Dion Phaneuf, whose slap shot was partially stopped by goalie Antti Niemi. Jamie Lundmark was at the side of the net to whack in the rebound.
``Those things happen, you break a stick and you feel absolutely useless out there and they capitalized on it,'' Fraser said. ``It was a good feeling late in the third when Bennie gets a lucky one off his knee. We'll take it.''
Eager has two goals in two games against Calgary.
``The first half of the season, we felt we weren't playing as well as we could but our line's been getting some production here the last 10-15 games,'' Fraser said. ``We've played our game, really simplified our game, and try to create energy for our team and we've been able to get some lucky ones.''
Patrick Kane and Duncan Keith also scored for Chicago (35-12-4), which remained two points behind San Jose for the overall NHL lead. Chicago has won all three games in the season series and seven in a row at the Saddledome since Nov. 22, 2006.
Calgary (26-19-6) has lost five straight in regulation, is winless in its last six, and suddenly find itself in ninth place and out of a playoff spot in the Western Conference after being passed by both Detroit and Los Angeles.
``We really have to find a way to start winning a lot of games and winning a lot of games in a row to get back in this thing,'' said Flames center Craig Conroy, who hit the crossbar late in the third period with the Flames down a goal.
``This one was a must-win for us, but we don't capitalize, we don't do it. We had some good chances but we didn't finish. It seemed like we still came out a little slow again for whatever reason.''
Calgary also is winless in its last five home games (0-4-1). The sellout crowd of 19,289 booed the Flames as they left the ice.
``There's no question we weren't as sharp,'' said Iginla, who has only two assists in his last nine games. ``Guys wanted to make the plays, guys wanted to make the difference. But for the most part, almost all of us were, you know that old saying, we're squeezing a little hard and not making the passes and looking like we were standing still. A lot of times when it looks like you're standing still, it's because you're thinking and you're trying too hard and you're pressing.''
After failing on a penalty shot in the first period, Patrick Kane opened the scoring for Chicago on a power play at 9:14 of the second.
Keith added an empty-net goal for Chicago, 3-1 on its eight-game trip.
NOTES: Lundmark has three goals in eight games since being called up from the minors two weeks ago. ... Niemi improved to 13-3-1. ... Calgary's Fredrik Sjostrom finally played his 400th NHL game after being a healthy scratch the previous six games.