Blackhawks goalie Ray Emery stops the Flames’ Tom Kostopoulos in the third period. | Scott Stewart-Sun-Times
Calgary 0 0 1—1Blackhawks 1 1 2—4
First Period—1, HAWKS, Keith 1 (Carcillo, Sharp), 12:09. Penalties—Hjalmarsson, HAWKS (tripping), 9:43; Jackman, Cal (cross-checking), 12:16; Moss, Cal (goaltender interference), 17:48.
Second Period—2, HAWKS, Seabrook 1 (Hossa, Sharp), 12:11 (pp). Penalties—Horak, Cal (high-sticking), 11:59.
Third Period—3, Calgary, Jokinen 4 (Giordano), 10:50. 4, HAWKS, Stalberg 4 (Hossa, J.Toews), 16:49. 5, HAWKS, Kane 6 (Sharp, Carcillo), 19:56 (en). Penalties—Tanguay, Cal (hooking), 11:53.
Shots on Goal—Calgary 13-6-6—25. HAWKS 13-11-7—31.
Power-play opportunities—Calgary 0 of 1; HAWKS 1 of 4.
Goalies—Calgary, Kiprusoff 6-6-0 (30 shots-27 saves). HAWKS, Emery 3-0-1 (25-24).
Referees—Kevin Pollock, David Banfield. Linesmen—Steve Miller, Bryan Pancich. A—21,720 (19,717). T—2:16.
Updated: December 13, 2011 9:10AM
A one-word answer was enough.
Did Ray Emery have his best game with the Blackhawks in their 4-1 victory Friday against the Calgary Flames?
“Yeah,” coach Joel Quenneville said.
Emery inexplicably was left out of the postgame three stars after making 24 saves for his third victory of the season. But he was the Hawks’ best player Friday as the team won on back-to-back nights and looked ready to leave its recent rough stretch behind.
“We were joking we thought he’d be one of the stars of the game,” Jonathan Toews said. “We definitely thought he deserved it. He stepped in there when we needed him to. It was a big game for him tonight. That breakaway chance in the second period, he made a big stop there.”
The save Toews mentioned was Emery’s stop on Flames winger Curtis Glencross, who got loose for a breakaway after a turnover by defenseman Steve Montador at the blue line late in the second. A goal would have made it 2-1 with plenty of time left, possibly changing the complexion of the game.
“It was a huge save, very timely,” Quenneville said. “He was big in a lot of ways tonight. They were around the net. They played a strong game. That was a very huge save at that time because the game was pretty even. That could have turned it around.”
Emery also was strong in the early going. The Hawks seemed sluggish after their victory Thursday in Columbus, Ohio, and turned the puck over often.
“We were a little careless with the puck early in the first five minutes of the game,” Quenneville said. “I thought Ray had a special game for us. He was big in getting us two points.”
The Flames made it interesting when Olli Jokinen made it 2-1 halfway through the third on a set play after a faceoff win. But Marian Hossa (two assists) set up Viktor Stalberg with a beautiful feed six minutes later to secure the victory.
Duncan Keith and Brent Seabrook (power play) scored their first goals of the season as the defense was a big factor in the offense for the second consecutive game. Kane had an empty-netter in the final seconds, Patrick Sharp had three assists and Daniel Carcillo added two.
The Hawks’ defense also did a strong job of cleaning up the loose pucks around Emery as the game went on.
“They throw it to the net and whack at pucks,” Emery said. “There were definitely pucks there. The ‘D’ did a good job of letting me see the puck, and when there were rebounds there, taking them away.”
There were other positives in the victory. The Hawks’ power play, while still lethargic at times, produced for the second consecutive game, and their penalty kill was able to kill off Niklas Hjalmarsson’s first-period tripping penalty, their only penalty of the game.
But the victory was about Emery improving to 3-0-1 and lowering his goals-against average to 2.70.
“I’ve played once a week or so, and I expect to come out with a lot of energy,” Emery said. “A lot of times that’s the reason why you’re playing the second game [of a back-to-back], because you can bring some extra energy to the group that’s traveled and played the night before.”