Ladd leads Blackhawks past Flames

CALGARY, Alberta — Andrew Ladd was brought in to lend a veteran hand to the Chicago Blackhawks late in the season and he has.

The left winger had two goals and an assist and the struggling Stanley Cup champions beat the Calgary Flames 4-1 on a day when the Western Conference's Central Division contenders Dallas, St. Louis and Nashville all won.

The win keeps the Blackhawks (43-25-7) alone in third place in the division, two points up on the Nashville Predators. Both teams have seven regular-season games remaining.

“We know where we are at in terms of the standings and Nashville's right on our heels and St. Louis is pulling away,” said Ladd, who was acquired on trade deadline day on Feb. 29 from Winnipeg, where he was captain.

“We understand this road trip is a big road trip for us. We take these two points and now we can focus on Vancouver (Sunday night).”

Ladd has five goals and three assists in 12 games since arriving from Manitoba.

Andrew Shaw also scored for the third straight game for Chicago. Ladd's second goal was into an empty net with 1:12 remaining and Teuvo Teravainen also scored with the net empty with nine seconds left.

Dougie Hamilton replied for Calgary (31-38-6).

Chicago began a four-game road trip in Calgary.

The Blackhawks have been struggling approaching the playoffs so the win is big for them. This was just their second win their past eight games and they haven't beaten a team currently occupying a Western Conference playoff spot since the Dallas Stars on Feb. 6.

“We've lost a ton of ground here, so trying to get a win was the most important thing,” said Blackhawks head coach Joel Quenneville.

“We've still got to be better. We found a way to win, which was nice. Scoreboard watching when you are in this position is not what you need to be doing. We need to take care of our own business.”

Scott Darling got a sixth straight start in goal for the Blackhawks in place of injured starter Corey Crawford. He stopped 29 shots and is 2-3-1 during that stretch.

The Blackhawks are 8-0-4 against Calgary the past four seasons.

The Flames were mathematically eliminated from the playoff race with the Minnesota Wild's 4-0 win over the Colorado Avalanche earlier Saturday.

“It was a good, hard-fought game,” Flames captain Mark Giordano said.

“We made a couple mistakes that cost us and 2-1 game, they score a couple on the empty-net. We had some chances there, especially in the second I thought and we couldn't capitalize and they played a pretty good third period.”

A horrible play by Flames defenseman TJ Brodie led to Ladd's goal to open the scoring at 5:51 of the second period. The last man in his zone, Brodie put a clearing pass right on Ladd's stick and Ladd found himself one-on-one with Flames goalie Joni Ortio, beating him to the stick side.

Hamilton tied it at 12:43. Hamilton's brother Freddie fanned on a shot in the slot. It slid over to the defenseman and he blasted it past a diving Darling.

Shaw gave Chicago the lead again with 49 seconds remaining in the period on a tip-in of Michal Rozsival's shot.

“Those two goals really hurt us,” Flames head coach Bob Hartley said.

“We played a very good game. I'm happy with the way we played. They took advantage of two turnovers. It's unfortunate that they cost us.”

NOTES: The Blackhawks welcomed back C Marcus Kruger, a defensive specialist, who had been out of the lineup since Dec. 17 because of a wrist injury that required surgery. … Blackhawks starting G Corey Crawford was sidelined for a sixth straight game with an upper-body injury and is not on the team's four-game road trip, which began in Calgary. … Chicago's scratches were RW Dale Weise, D Erik Gustafsson, LW Brandon Mashinter, D Christian Ehrhoff and C Dennis Rasmussen. … D Viktor Svedberg was recalled from by the Blackhawks from AHL Rockford on Thursday for the fourth time this season. … Out of the lineup for Calgary with injuries were D Dennis Wideman (upper body), and RW Josh Jooris (lower body). … Calgary's lone healthy scratch was G Niklas Backstrom. … The Flames are attempting to sign C Mark Jankowski, their first-round pick from 2012, who played his final U.S. college game earlier this week at Providence. The 21-year-old can opt to become a free agent on Aug. 15.