Matthew Tkachuk on Tuesday broke a tie on a fortunate bounce with 5 minutes, 35 seconds left to lead the Calgary Flames in a 5-2 victory over the Chicago Blackhawks.
The win was the Flames’ fourth straight victory.
Tkachuk’s centering pass went off the skate of Chicago defenseman Seth Jones and over the shoulder of goalie Marc-Andre Fleury to give Calgary a 3-2 lead.
Trevor Lewis and Johnny Gaudreau each added an empty-net goal for the Flames (12-3-5), who sit alone atop the Western Conference.
“People don’t realize how big those goals are when we have a chance to put a team away,” Tkachuk said.
Dillon Dube and Milan Lucic also scored for Calgary, who have earned at least one point in seven consecutive games. Goaltender Jacob Markstrom made 19 saves.
Reese Johnson had a goal and an assist — his first two NHL points — to lead the offense for Chicago (6-11-2). Brandon Hagel also scored.
“It’s obviously nice to contribute,” Johnson said. “I want to be able to do that more, get some greasy ones in front of the net, but obviously we want to come out of that with two points.”
Coming off a 40-save shutout on Sunday against Vancouver, Fleury had a tough start to the night, getting beaten twice on the first six shots that he faced before slamming the door until late in the third period. He finished with 34 stops and fell to 5-8-0.
“When he starts seeing pucks and we start giving up too many chances, he gets better and better,” Chicago captain Jonathan Toews said. “He backs us up when we’re not so good in front of him. We don’t want to have to rely on him to do that every single night. We have to help him and do things better in front of him.”
Having won five of six entering Tuesday’s game, Chicago finished their road trip 2-2.
Both Blackhawks goals were the result of costly turnovers.
After the Flames grabbed the lead just 1:19 into the game, Hagel tied it at 8:57 when Tyler Pitlick coughed up the puck along the sideboards and Hagel whipped a quick shot into the top corner.
Lucic’s goal at 13:06 gave Calgary a 2-1 lead after the first period, but Chicago tied the game at 3:51 into the second period on another freebie.
From behind the net, Markstrom’s pass attempt to Elias Lindholm went off the heel of Lindholm’s stick and was promptly fired into an open net by Johnson.
After that miscue, Markstrom made a string of saves to keep the game tied.
First, he squeezed a dangerous shot from Patrick Kane from 7m out as he broke in off the right wing.
On his next shift, Kane got a breakaway, only to see Markstrom turn him aside again, getting a blocker on a shot that also ticked off the post.
Later in the period, Markstrom jabbed out his pad to make a skate save on Kirby Dach.
Right after that, he acrobatically got across the crease to rob Hagel, after he was set up on a two-on-one.
Dube opened the scoring on Calgary’s first shot when he fired a wrister off the left wing, just over Fleury’s pad.
After a hectic stretch of nine games in 15 days — including a seven-game Eastern Conference road trip — Calgary has three days to recharge before facing Winnipeg.
“Probably the toughest stretch of our schedule,” Lucic said. “Starting in Calgary and ending in Calgary — so it just felt like one big, long road trip. But I think we did a good job of managing our energy, managing our rest, being fresh in all nine games.”
Also on Tuesday, it was:
‧ Stars 4, Oilers 1
‧ Lightning 4, Flyers 0
‧ Flames 5, Blackhawks 2
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