Chicago Blackhawks (10-7-1) at Calgary Flames (12-6-2)
|Date & Time||Thursday November 20, 2014, 9:00 PM (EST)|
The Line: Calgary Flames +135 / Chicago Blackhawks -148 --- Over/Under: 5.5
It wasn’t a great start for the Calgary Flames on Tuesday night but how you finish is always infinitely more important. Trailing 2-0 heading to the third the Flames rallied for three third period goals and eventually defeated the visiting Anaheim Ducks 4-3 in a shootout. Jiri Hudler scored his sixth goal of the season a little over three minutes into the final period to get the Flames on the board. Less than six minutes later Dennis Wideman scored to tie the game and added another less than five minutes after to give the Flames the lead. Calgary’s Josh Joorish would take a penalty however and the Ducks would tie the game with their second power play goal of the night. In the shootout the youngster Johnny Gaudreau got the Flames on the board and Sean Monahan sealed it after Jonas Hiller stopped two of the three shooters he faced against his former team. The Flames managed just 19 shots on goal in the game but they showed their resilience by not lying down heading into the third period. Hiller finished the night with 24 saves and it obviously felt good for him to pick up a win against his ex-teammates. One thing we saw from the Flames on Tuesday night that we have seen all season is their inability to kill penalties consistently. Calgary allowed two more power play markers to the Ducks in this one and they currently sit 25th in the league at a lowly 75.4%. In this day and age the specialty units are so important that Calgary needs to get it figured out. Their power play has done reasonably well with all the young talent and that’s something that will need to continue. It was a good win for the Flames against one of the better teams in the league and Thursday night Calgary will get a crack at another one when the Chicago Blackhawks come to town.
Chicago is off to a bit of a slow start by their standards but they have won three of their last four games heading into this match up. Sunday night it was a third period barrage that helped elevate them to a big victory over the Dallas Stars. Patrick Kane broke a 2-2 tie with his sixth goal of the season and Jonathan Toews, Kris Versteeg, and Brandon Saad all added goals in the final period to help the Blackhawks to a 6-2 win. Duncan Keith opened the scoring just 1:18 into the first period and Brent Seabrook added his fourth of the year on the power play. It really was impressive just how dominant the Blackhawks were in the third period. Whatever was said in the locker room during the second intermission worked because Chicago came out and out shot the Stars 23-5 and scored four goals. Chicago finished the night with 47 shots on Dallas goaltender Kari Lehtonen. The Blackhawks lead the league at just under 38 shots per game, a figure that no one else is even close to as Minnesota is in second at just over 33. Generating shots is always key to winning hockey games for obvious reasons but when you have the type of talent that the Blackhawks do that usually ensures that the quality of those shots is better than most teams. Corey Crawford got the start in this one and stopped 22 of the 24 shots he faced to pick up his seventh win of the season.
The Flames continue to play above their head and their come from behind victory against the Ducks on Tuesday night was impressive. This is another test for them but it’s going to be even harder. Unlike Anaheim the Blackhawks seem to be figuring things out and they’ll be well rested heading into this one, having not played since Sunday night.