Same old story for Flames

STEVE MACFARLANE, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 12:01 AM ET

CHICAGO — New blood didn’t make a difference.

The Chicago Blackhawks own the Calgary Flames.

Proving it once again with a 4-1 win at the United Center in front of 21,537 fans at the Madhouse on Madison, the Blackhawks treated the new-look Flames like the same old chumps they racked up seven straight previous NHL regular-season victories against.

“We gave up a couple of odd-man rushes and made a couple of mistakes, and they’re a very opportunistic team, and they made us pay,” said Flames defenceman Ian White, one of eight new Flames in the lineup (including minor-league call-ups Brett Sutter and Mikael Backlund) who haven’t been around for the Blackhawks dominance that has now seen them sweep the regular-season series two years in a row.

“It wasn’t what we were looking for.”

Did anyone really expect another outcome?

The fact the Flames turned over a third of their lineup between Jan. 30 and March 3 only illustrated the same point all these terrible losses to the Blackhawks has painted.

They’re out of their league.

With stars like Jonathan Toews, Patrick Kane, Marian Hossa and Patrick Sharp leading the offence, there may not be a more frightening team in the Western Conference.

“They’ve got great forwards,” said Flames veteran Craig Conroy. “Those first two lines are both first lines. They’re all dangerous.

“Just young, hungry guys. Kane always seems like he plays well against us. He had another good game.”

Skill and speed are two things the Blackhawks have in abundance. And the back end was missing the injured Brian Campbell.

Flames fans sick of the money this team spends on defenders continue to point at the Hawks’ road map to success for inspiration.

Backlund is as close as it gets to those young, offensively gifted stars. And with all due respect for a kid that looks more and more like he’ll be a force in this league, he’s no Toews or Kane.

And those stars always seem to shine against the Flames.

Kane had been struggling, going a season-long four straight games without a point.

He broke out with a goal and an assist Sunday afternoon to earn his team-leading 23rd multi-point game of the year.

The 21-year-old now has six goals and 14 points in 11 career games against the Flames.

“I could feel myself breaking out of a slump a little bit,” Kane said Sunday. “I knew today was probably going to be the day.”

He wasn’t alone. When it comes to the Blackhawks and the Flames, people have started to expect it.


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