CHICAGO - Twelve seconds.
That's all it took.
The Calgary Flames barely survived the final minutes of regulation just to get to the extra period of Thursday night's Stanley Cup playoff opener.
But 12 ticks into the extra frame it was all over in a 3-2 clash.
Andrew Ladd was parked in front of the calgary net, and banged into Flames goalie Miikka Kiprusoff by the Calgary defenceman.
That's when Martin Havlat found the opening he needed with the long wrister that has the Flames fuming and the Hawks owning first blood.
The best-of-seven series continues tomorrow night in the Windy City.
The wired United Center sellout crowd of 22,478 delivered the noise as promised before puck drop, but it was the Flames who came out of the gate with more jump.
It paid off before the midway point of the first period when David Moss opened the scoring to finish off some wild action.
The Flames came within inches of putting the puck in the net, but Blackhawks goalie Nikolai Khabibulin reached back to make the desperation play to send the puck from harm's way, which sent the hosts on a rush.
Patrick Kane broke down the wing but blasted a shot wide, which sent Calgary down the ice again.
Craig Conroy's shot was directed to the corner by Khabibulin, but Curtis Glencross tracked it down and sent it toward the net.
Moss was among the maze of player and shovelled home the garbage goal.
Cam Barker drew Chicago even with seven minutes remaining in the second period with his first NHL playoff goal.
Eric Nystrom blocked Barker's first point shot, but the puck bounced back to the defenceman.
He worked deeper and sent a sharp-angled shot that ricocheted off Nystrom and beat the screened Miikka Kiprusoff.
Then it was time for one of Calgary's playoff neophytes, Micheal Cammalleri, to restore the lead.
Early in the third period, Todd Bertuzzi's nifty little pass sprung his linemates on a two-on-one rush. Daymond Langkow feed the pass for the wide-open Cammalleri.
He made no mistake with half the net to hit for his first playoff goal.
But Martin Havlat's goal with five minutes remaining on the clock forced the overtime.
Calgary was having all kinds of trouble in its own zone, which came to a head with Anders Eriksson and Craig Conroy tripped over each other to give Havlat the opportunity he was looking for.
Kiprusoff stopped the first shot, but the rebound came right back to Chicago's leading scorer and he snapped it home.
So much was made of Khabibulin's dominance of the Flames over his career, and the Hawks netminder delivered a bunch of big stops, especially in the opening period and early in the middle frame.
He came up with a great stop on Curtis Glencross and a couple of other Moss chances.
Kiprusoff was just as good, despite losing.
He loomed especially large with a big glove stop on Patrick Sharp late in the second period, and Kris Versteeg, first on the long slapper and then on the rebound shortly after his team made it a 2-1 game.