Man disadvantage in loss

STEVE MACFARLANE -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 10:09 AM ET

The kids were just all right, but the Chicago Blackhawks didn't need their rookie stars to shine.

In a game dominated by the Calgary Flames at even strength, the 'Hawks came away with a 2-1 victory at the Saddledome last night on the strength of two shorthanded goals.

Rookie phenoms Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane were kept in check but two strange plays cost the Flames what was a pretty solid body of work, especially over the final 40 minutes.

"We heard about all the skill and everything. They have good players. But I thought we didn't really let them get wound up," said Flames centre Craig Conroy. "Five-on-five, I don't know how many real good scoring chances they had.

"Those two shorthanded killed us."

Toews and Kane aren't the only young players worth watching on the up-and-coming Blackhawks team.

Their defence corps boasts Duncan Keith, Brent Seabrook, and James Wisniewski all under the age of 25. They've also got 27-year-old Jim Vandermeer eating up minutes on the blueline.

That group did a great job of keeping the Flames to just a handful of shots in the first period.

It was one of a half-dozen rookies who suited up last night who opened the scoring, too.

Jacob Dowell scored his first goal in his first NHL contest -- a shorthanded breakaway that gave the Hawks a 1-0 lead 5:29 into the second period --by taking advantage of Alex Tanguay's bizarrely timed change.

Jarome Iginla beat goaltender Nikolai Khabibulin with a powerplay goal later in the frame, but just 32 seconds into the third period, the Blackhawks netted the winner on another blueline blunder.

Adrian Aucoin couldn't handle a pass that bounced awkwardly at the last minute, and watched helplessly as Patrick Sharp blazed down the ice and lifted the puck over Kiprusoff for the Hawks' second shorthanded goal of the night.

"It's devastating in terms of momentum," said Flames head coach Mike Keenan. "At the same time, we made the miscues that you shouldn't expect from players at this level. We gave them those opportunities and they capitalized on the breaks.

"We couldn't get by Khabibulin after that."

Aucoin was surprised by the pass that seemed perfectly flat until it was almost on his stick.

"It was a horrible bounce. Iggy made a good pass and it was flat -- just skipped at the last second," said Aucoin.

"There's not much you can do. I thought we worked hard tonight.

"That was the right play. Iggy made a good pass, it came off the wall and just bounced. The puck was bouncing quite a bit tonight.

"It's unfortunate that was the deciding goal. We were pressing and got opportunities but just couldn't get one back."


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