Monday night’s matchup was the tale of two franchises trending in different directions. The Calgary Flames are making their way to the playoffs with a 6–3–1 record in their last 10 games. Their previous matchup was a 9–1 victory against the Arizona Coyotes. Meanwhile, the Chicago Blackhawks are plummeting straight toward the bottom. The Hawks were coming home after losing overtime to the Nashville Predators and currently have just one win in the month of April.
In the first period, the Flames struck early and often against a porous Blackhawks defense. The Flames notched their first goal of the game less than 30 seconds in the contest. After winning an offensive zone face-off, Flames defenseman Noah Hanifin took a shot from the point that was deflected in by Dillion Dube for the game first’s goal. Dube was able to score because of his positioning on Caleb Jones.
Shortly after, Johnny Gaudreau made the Blackhawks’ defense look silly, circling the wagons around the zone before causing a glaring miscommunication between two defenders for a clear lane to the net. Gaudreau made no mistake on the opportunity, sniping a wrister past Kevin Lankinen for a quick 2–0 Calgary lead. The tally was Gaudreau’s 600th career point.
The Hawks would answer back with a goal of their own. Forgotten forward Tyler Johnson netted his second goal as a member of the Chicago Blackhawks. It was his first goal since Oct. 24 after his neck surgery.
Tyler Johnson SNIPES IT HOME! 1-2 GAME! pic.twitter.com/87INV5725a
— Blackhawks Nation (@HawksNationfb) April 19, 2022
The Flames added to their lead late in the period after another Blackhawks defensive lapse. Seth Jones fired a puck around the boards that was not recovered by Patrick Kane. Calgary’s Oliver Kylington won the puck along with the boards and fired a shot on the net that was deflected by Blake Coleman for the goal. It was the third Flames goal of the period, extending the gap to 3–1.
Despite being outshot 14–6 in the first period, the Blackhawks were lucky to be down two goals. Lankinen made two great saves on Gaudreau and Calle Jarnkrok during the period to keep the Blackhawks within two goals.
At the midway point in the second period, the Blackhawks had yet to crack 10 shots on goal. Despite being outshot 26–9, the Blackhawks cut the Flames’ lead to one goal on their 10th shot of the period. Alec Regula fired a pretty harmless-looking shot toward the net. The shot hit the post and bounced off Jakob Markstrom’s back for Regula’s first career NHL goal, trimming the margin to 3–2.
— Mario Tirabassi (@Mario_Tirabassi) April 19, 2022
Despite “winning” the second period, the Blackhawks still trailed by one goal.
In the third period, the Blackhawks played their best period of the game, recording nine shots on goal while Calgary had six. Despite outshooting the Flames, the Blackhawks were not able to scratch across another goal.
The Flames tacked on two empty-net goals to seal the victory. The Flames got one goal from Gaudreau and one from Kylington. The final score was 5–2 Calgary.
The positives from Monday’s game were the play of Regula and Alex Vlasic. Both young defensemen appear to be gaining confidence on the ice. Regula netted his first NHL goal and first point. Vlasic was able to use positioning and size to prevent some rushes from the Flames. Both defensemen are hopefully going to help anchor the Blackhawks’ blue line for years to come.
The Blackhawks have six games remaining this season, with the next coming on the road on Wednesday against the Arizona Coyotes. Puck drop is scheduled for 9 p.m. CDT.