Berra steals win for Flames against Blackhawks

Jonathan Toews #19 of the Chicago Blackhawks shoots against Reto Berra #29 of the Calgary Flames,...

Jonathan Toews #19 of the Chicago Blackhawks shoots against Reto Berra #29 of the Calgary Flames, who is making his NHL debut against the Blackhawks, at the United Center on November 3, 2013 in Chicago, Illinois. Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images/AFP

WES GILBERTSON, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 10:54 PM ET

CHICAGO -- It had been 2,058 days since the Calgary Flames last celebrated a victory at United Center in Chicago.

All they needed to end that skid was about the same number of saves from rookie netminder Reto Berra.

Alright, that's a bit of an exaggeration, but Berra was the first star — and could have been the second and third star, too — in Sunday's 3-2 overtime victory over the Chicago Blackhawks.

Berra finished with 42 stops in his NHL debut, surrendering just two tallies to the defending Stanley Cup champions in one of the NHL's loudest buildings and making his boss look like a genius for giving him the start in such a tough setting.

Kris Russell scored on a blast 1:32 into the extra session to ensure he was rewarded for it.

“I understand the challenge, but here's a guy that played in world championship and everything. He wants to play and I'll never try to hold back a thoroughbred,” shrugged Flames head coach Bob Hartley after Sunday's morning skate. “I don't see why we wouldn't put him in tonight's game.

“I just want to make clear it's not a one-game shot,” Hartley added. “He's going to get many starts.”

It's a small sample size, but he showed Sunday in the Windy City that he deserves more.

Just one day after being summoned from the AHL's Abbotsford Heat, the 26-year-old Berra bought some time for his teammates to find their stride in the opening period, kicking aside 18 shots and keeping it scoreless at the first intermission.

The Blackhawks had already fired 21 shots on goal when Patrick Kane finally solved Berra at the 6:25 mark of the second frame, getting away from Flames winger Curtis Glencross and spying the shelf from the top of the circle.

Just 50 seconds later, before the United Center's public-address guy could even announce Kane's goal, Flames winger Michael Cammalleri got a piece of Dennis Wideman's point shot to tie it up.

Glencross buried the go-ahead goal just 2:16 after the second intermission, accepting a great feed from defenceman Chris Russell and scoring from the wing.

The Blackhawks tied it up as the Flames tried to kill off a two-man advantage, with Butler but Matt Stajan just finishing his sentence when Marian Hossa ripped a shot by Berra on Chicago's 42nd attempt of the night.

The next stop for the Flames is the Twin Cities, where they'll have a recovery day before Tuesday's meeting with the Minnesota Wild at Xcel Energy Center (6 p.m., Sportsnet West, Sportsnet 960).

wes.gilbertson@sunmedia.ca

On Twitter: @SUNGilbertson


Videos

Photos