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Hawks offense flickers vs. Flames


BLACKHAWKS 0 1 0 — 1

Calgary 1 0 2 — 3

First Period—1, Calgary, Backlund 7 (Bouma, Pardy), 14:33. Penalties—Kane, HAWKS (hooking), 15:27.

Second Period—2, HAWKS, Kane 15 (Toews, Brouwer), 5:56. Penalties—Sarich, Cal (roughing), 8:05; Regehr, Cal (interference), 11:03; Stalberg, HAWKS (tripping), 15:20; Sarich, Cal (clipping), 19:31.

Third Period—3, Calgary, Glencross 14 (Jokinen, Regehr), 8:37. 4, Calgary, Bourque 16 (Jokinen, Iginla), 19:35 (en-pp). Penalties—Tanguay, Cal (holding stick), 8:56; Sharp, HAWKS (goaltender interference), 13:00; Seabrook, HAWKS (unsportsmanlike conduct), 18:46.

Shots on goal—HAWKS 3-11-9—23. Calgary 10-11-7—28. Power-play opportunities—HAWKS 0 of 4; Calgary 1 of 4.

Goalies—HAWKS, Crawford 16-11-2 (27 shots-25 saves). Calgary, Kiprusoff 23-18-3 (23-22).

Referees—Francois St. Laurent, Kelly Sutherland. Linesmen—Jay Sharrers, Greg Devorski. A—19,289 (19,289). T—2:19.

Updated: September 24, 2012 6:25AM

CALGARY, Alberta — The last thing the Blackhawks need is another team in the playoff mix in the already jam-packed Western Conference race.

But here are the Calgary Flames. And there were the Flames outplaying the Hawks in their 3-1 win over the defending champions Monday night at the Scotiabank Saddledome.

Instead of continuing all the good things they did against the Vancouver Canucks in their previous game, the Hawks had an awful start against the Flames, and their power play faltered again and again.

“It’s unacceptable,” defenseman Brian Campbell said. “We need to start proving we’re a playoff team. If we are a playoff team, we have to prove it. Right now, we’re obviously not a playoff team.”

What the Hawks are is the 11th team in the conference with just 58 points in 53 games. The matchup against the Flames was an opportunity for a four-point swing. Plus, the Hawks have two games in hand on the Flames.

But the Hawks’ lackluster start told the story of what type of night it was going to be.

“I don’t think there is anyone in this league we can’t beat if we prepare ourselves and play the right way,” captain Jonathan Toews said. “That first period looked a lot like the last game we played here [on Nov. 19], and we got spanked 7-2. It wasn’t a good start.”

The Hawks managed to enter the third period tied at 1. But the third period hasn’t been favorable for them all season, and the trend continued as Curtis Glencross scored the game-winner at 8:37.

Chances of at least a point decreased when defenseman Brent Seabrook was sent to the penalty box for unsportsmanlike conduct with 74 seconds left in the game. Rene Bourque added an empty-­netter with 25 seconds to go.

Coach Joel Quenneville doesn’t mind anger in the Hawks’ efforts — just as long as they use it productively.

“I think we’re better off with anger,” Quenneville said. “Frustration, if you channel it properly, has got to be part of it.

“It was an undisciplined penalty at the end we can’t take. It’s making sure you lay it all on the line, but you’ve got to have a purpose. I don’t mind having an attitude when you’re upset with what’s going on.”

The Hawks’ power play went 0-for-4 and continued to flounder at key moments, costing them momentum and ultimately points. Rebound and garbage goals continue to be missing.

Mikael Backlund gave the Flames a 1-0 lead in the first period by making a nice move on Corey Crawford (25 saves). Miikka Kiprusoff (22 saves) allowed only Patrick Kane’s game-tying goal at 5:56 in the second on a nice feed from Toews.

The Flames were an afterthought at one point this season, and even superstar and captain Jarome Iginla was rumored to be on the move. But since late December, the Flames have been one of the hottest teams in the league, stringing together a 13-3-4 run to vault themselves back into the playoff race. They now have 61 points.

“Give them credit — they have a roll going,” Quenneville said. “Through the course of the year, you put one of these [streaks] together, [and] you put yourself in a good spot. It’s something we’d like to do. They [Flames] have a lot of things going for them right now.”

And it appears the Hawks don’t, having lost four of their last five games.

“A week ago, we were in a pretty good spot,” Quenneville said. “And then all of a sudden, we’re not where we want to be.”

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