Flames bury Blackhawks
Steve MacFarlane, QMI Agency
|Calgary Flames' Curtis Glencross celebrates his goal with Olli Jokinen (13) and Rene Bourque (17) as Chicago Blackhawks' Marian Hossa skates by during the third period of their NHL hockey game in Calgary, Alberta, November 18, 2011. (REUTERS/Mike Sturk)
CALGARY - Scoring enough to support the superb play of goaltender Miikka Kiprusoff has been the plan for much of this season.
It just hasn't happened too often.
The Calgary Flames offence did its part Friday night at the Saddledome.
Flashing a combination of speed and skill that hasn't been seen enough so far this year, the Flames made the most of their opportunities in the offensive zone — even without the powerplay picking up any points — to come away with a 5-2 victory over the NHL's top squad.
"We needed that one," said winger Rene Bourque, who scored his first goal in 10 games just 40 seconds into the second period. "To beat the top team in the league, we needed a good effort from everyone and that's what we had."
Thanks to some spectacular early stops from Kiprusoff, the Chicago Blackhawks were left shaking their heads the way the Flames have during a recent stretch of unsuccessful offensive forays, including a loss to the Hawks in Chicago a week ago.
The Flames netminder robbed Hawks captain Jonathan Toews with the left pad to keep things scoreless in the early going. He also covered Toews' second attempt of the shift just long enough for the referee to decide the play was dead before The Serious One finally poked it in.
Lee Stemniak rewarded his backstop by flashing the goalscoring prowess he displayed during stretches with his previous employers.
Deking Duncan Keith with an outside-in move, Stempniak finished by firing a snapshot over Corey Crawford's far shoulder to give the hosts a 1-0 lead.
Although it was shortlived, with Viktor Stalberg knotting things up 64 seconds later by evading Jay Bouwmeester and tapping in a Toews pass, the Flames piled on in the second period with goals 17 seconds apart from Bourque and rookie Paul Byron.
They also got a pair from Curtis Glencross in the third period, the first winning a young female fan a 2012 Chevy Cruze.
"It's definitely a win to build on," Stempniak said. "Goals have been tough to come by for myself and for the team, so it feels good to score and contribute in a win.
"That's been the big knock on us — we haven't scored goals this year. Goaltending's been good. Defence has been good. We just haven't scored enough goals to win games.
"Hopefully, everyone gets on a roll now."
Glencross literally got that one young lady rolling when he scored within the allotted 40 seconds during the Chevy-sponsored promotion.
Prior to Friday night, that was a promo that people would have felt safe betting against.
But with a handful crossing the goal-line on the night — a season high for the Flames — they rewarded everyone in the building, especially the netminder.
"It's really important. (Kiprusoff) gives us a chance to win every single game," said Stempniak. "The majority of the time the onus is on us as a team not scoring enough goals and that's why we lose.
"We did a good job of trying to limit their chances — that's a good team over there — but at the same time he shut the door when he needed to."