At first glance, Calgary Flames head coach Bob Hartley arrived for Tuesday’s post-game address with the usual number of grey hairs on his head. Upon further inspection, though, there must have been a few extras. The Flames, after all, had just compared offensive firepower with the star-studded Chicago Blackhawks ... and prevailed with a 5-4 overtime triumph. “These games are the most fun, I think, when it’s back and forth and a lot of chances,” said Flames centre Mikael Backlund, who potted a pair in one of the most impressive outings of his professional puck career. “It was a fun game. A lot of emotions, a lot of chances back and forth. I’m sure the coaches don’t think that, but I enjoyed this game.” Hartley, with a straight face, insisted he did enjoy it. The Flames had frittered away a two-goal lead and were forced to switch puck-stoppers at the second intermission, but Karri Ramo was flawless in relief and TJ Brodie scored on a wraparound in the extra session as they stunned the reigning Stanley Cup champions at the Saddledome. With Tuesday’s triumph, the Flames (19-27-7) rattled off three straight victories for the first time this season. They also claimed the regular-season series against the Blackhawks, winning twice in three tries against one of the NHL’s most talented troupes. “Just look at that squad. If you’re not ready to go, they’re going to make you look foolish,” said Flames right-winger David Jones. “In some ways, it’s easy to get up for those games because you know if you’re not ready, it’s going to be a long night.” It was only a long night for the goalies. After Backlund scored twice — including once on a shorthanded rush — and left-winger Lance Bouma and centre Matt Stajan added singles, Blackhawks rookie Antti Raanta was yanked midway through the second period. When Corey Crawford arrived in Chicago’s crease, the Flames had a 4-2 lead. Less than three minutes later, Flames starter Reto Berra whiffed on what should have been a routine glove save after a harmless shot by Ben Smith and then Marian Hossa scored his second of the night before the break to tie it up.
Flames defeat Cup champ Blackhawks 5-4 in OT
Calgary Sun | Jan 29