Ray Emery, Blackhawks shock Flames in shootout victory
BY MARK LAZERUS firstname.lastname@example.org February 2, 2013 7:23PM
Chicago Blackhawks' Marian Hossa, right, from Slovakia, celebrates his goal with teammate Patrick Kane during overtime of an NHL hockey game in Calgary, Alberta, Saturday, Feb. 2, 2013. The Blackhawks defeated the Flames 3-2 in a shootout. (AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Jeff McIntosh)
Updated: February 3, 2013 12:38AM
CALGARY, Alberta — When last we saw Blackhawks goaltender Ray Emery, in a 6-4 win at Phoenix in the second game of the season, he was bobbling loose pucks, firing off juicy rebounds and generally looking like a guy making his first start of the season. The Hawks’ offense — a high-flying, high-octane juggernaut at the time — bailed him out.
On Saturday night at Calgary, Emery returned the favor.
Emery made 45 saves — and stopped all three Flames in the shootout — as Calgary dominated play, but not the scoreboard, in the Hawks’ 3-2 victory.
“It was criminal,” Hawks coach Joel Quenneville said. “You’ve got to call the cops after that performance. We stole two points. He was spectacular. I’ve never ever been out-chanced, outplayed like that in my life. It was a special performance, and it continued in the shootout.”
It was Marian Hossa who got the Hawks into overtime with his stunning goal with 2.1 seconds left in regulation — just 33 seconds after Jay Bouwmeester appeared to win it for the Flames — and it was Patrick Kane got the lone goal in the shootout, but make no mistake: This win belonged to Emery, who faced 24 shots in a wild third period behind a clearly tired Hawks team that ended up in its fourth straight overtime and third straight shootout.
“He was awesome,” Kane said. “Fun to watch. We obviously got outplayed. We shouldn’t have won that game. He was the only reason we did.”
The win snapped the Hawks’ two-game losing streak — though they got a point in each of those games, and have now earned at least one point in all nine of their games to start the season. They’re a healthy 7-0-2 on the season, even if their offense has looked a bit sickly of late. Kane’s goal 4:08 into the third period was just the Hawks’ sixth goal in their last 12 periods (plus three overtimes), and Hossa’s the seventh.
Meanwhile, the Flames got chance after chance after chance, and Emery — forced to watch from the bench the past six games while Corey Crawford put a stranglehold on the No. 1 job with his stellar play — stopped them time after time after time. During a seven-minute span in the second period, Emery stuffed a Jarome Iginla breakaway, stopped Chris Butler twice in a goalmouth scrum, made a big kick save on Jiri Hudler on an odd-man rush, and made another point-blank save on Iginla.
It only got wilder — and Emery only got better — in the third period. He stopped Matt Stajan from close-range in the first minute, robbed Alex Tanguay, then survived a slew of goalmouth scrums as the Flames frantically tried to score the equalizer following Kane’s goal.
“It was scrambly,” Emery said of the 24-shot third-period barrage. “I thought even though we had a lot of shots against, we did a good job of battling and sorting things out, getting to loose pucks.”
The Flames finally proved Emery was human with a power play goal — just the second given up in 34 kills for the league-leading Hawks — with 6:37 to go in regulation. Dennis Wideman’s shot ticked off a skate in the crease and got past Emery, who was trying to become the first Hawks goaltender to pitch a shutout since Crawford did it at Vancouver in the playoffs on April 21, 2011.
The Flames then appeared to render Emery’s brilliant night moot when Jay Bouwmeester scored from the slot with 35 seconds left. But Hossa stunned the crowd by beating Kiprusoff with two seconds left on the clock and Emery pulled for an extra attacker.
And, just to make things interesting, the Hawks had to kill one more penalty in overtime to send the game to the shootout — a shootout that ended, of course, with an Emery stop on Roman Cervenka. It was the 48th time a Flames shooter put the puck on him, but not past him.
But, hey, who’s counting?
“I’m one of those goalies that likes to win,” Emery said. “However we go about that, whether it’s 10 shots or 40 shots, it doesn’t matter. I just like to win.”