Blackhawks 4, Flames 3 — Three Stars, Key Takeaways
This was a game the Calgary Flames absolutely, positively had to have. The definition of a must-win. Full marks to the Blackhawks for once again not being an easy win for a team in need; their effort most nights this season has been admirable. But the Flames crapped the bed in this one. There wasn’t much emotion from them on the ice and, while their shot totals were high, they didn’t get into the blue paint very often to make life harder on the Blackhawks. If I was a Flames fan I would start planning how I was going to spend my playoff money because it won’t be on game tickets after a night like tonight.
Star 1: Andreas Athanasiou
Athanasiou scored his 17th of the season in the first period, extending his personal goal streak to three straight games. He then scored his 18th early in the third period to give the Blackhawks the lead back. Athanasiou went 14 games between goals before this streak began, so it’s good to see him inching closer to the 20-goal mark in the closing days of his one-year contract.
Star 2: Petr Mrazek
The Blackhawks were out-shot 19-4 in the second period, but Mrazek allowed only one goal. Calgary’s third goal banked in off poor Ian Mitchell‘s skate. Mrazek played well enough to win the game, stopping 33 of 36 in the victory.
Star 3: Jonathan Toews
In his second game back from dealing with his health, Toews picked up another assist on Chicago’s first goal of the night. He won a tough board battle and started the play that ended with Athanasiou scoring his first goal of the night. Toews won seven of 17 faceoffs — including a huge win in the final 30 seconds of regulation — in almost 14 minutes of ice time.
- Lukas Reichel continues to show impressive skill and he’s getting more comfortable at the NHL level. He picked up the primary assist on both of Athanasiou’s goals. He now has three goals and three assists for six point in his last six games.
- How about Austin Wagner‘s first goal with the Blackhawks? A nice move to get into the middle and then he just beat a goaltender that didn’t look incredibly interested in playing his position. His goal game 89 seconds after Athanasiou gave the Blackhawks a 3-2 lead. Wagner was also credited with a team-high six hits in the game.
- Jarred Tinordi returned to the lineup and was back to being himself. He threw a few bigs hits and blocked a couple shots. Late in the second period you might have noticed Toews tapping him on the shins after a blocked shot. You can really tell the guys in the room appreciate and respect Tinordi.
- In the middle of the third period, Jason Dickinson blocked two shots with the same body part on the same shift and he was not comfortable at all. He took a couple big hits earlier in the night and he’s been playing through some pain lately; his effort was impressive, but it’s about what we’ve come to expect from him since he was acquired from Vancouver. Dickinson won 12 of 21 faceoffs and was credited with three blocked shots in the game.
- Columbus lost in Toronto already on Tuesday night, so the Blackhawks needed to take the L.