CALGARY, Alberta (AP) — Chicago Blackhawks goalie Ray Emery turned in a performance that left everyone talking and had the Calgary Flames shaking their heads in disbelief.
Emery made a career-high 45 saves, and the Blackhawks — on a shootout goal by Patrick Kane — beat the Flames 3-2 on Saturday night.
“That was criminal,” Chicago coach Joel Quenneville said. “They’ve got to call the cops after that performance. (Emery) stole two points. He was spectacular.
“I’ve never ever been outplayed, outchanced like that in my life. That was a special performance and it continued on in the shootout.”
And that was just the capper. Both teams scored in the final minute of regulation to push the game into overtime.
The teams were scoreless through two periods before Calgary outshot Chicago 24-6 in the third. The Flames appeared set to hand the Blackhawks their first regulation loss when Jay Bouwmeester scored with 35 seconds remaining to put Calgary ahead 2-1.
However, Chicago pulled Emery for an extra skater and, in a furious scramble around the net in the final seconds, Marian Hossa pounced on the puck and fired it over fallen goalie Miikka Kiprusoff with just 2.3 seconds remaining.
In the shootout, Kane scored on a backhanded deke — after misses by Calgary’s Alex Tanguay and Jiri Hudler — to put the game in Emery’s hands. He then denied Roman Cervenka to win it for the Blackhawks in thrilling fashion.
“We did a good job of managing the flurries that they came at us in, and we got goals at the end when we needed them,” Emery said. “We didn’t quit even though they got one with 30 seconds left. We battled right to the end, got one with two seconds left and got one in the shootout.
“They’re not going to be pretty all the time but those ones, those are the ones you need to eke out if you want to have a good year.”
Twenty minutes after the game ended, Tanguay was still searching for answers that would explain how the Flames lost.
“I’m not sure we’re going to get much sleep tonight. The way we played doesn’t show on the score sheet,” Tanguay said. “(Mikael) Backlund had an empty net, (Curtis) Glencross had an empty net, I got a breakaway in the third period where I just have to get it over his pad, and it hopped over my stick.
“Tons of chances. Cammy hit the post, Iggy had five great shots from the slot, I mean, what else can you ask for?”
The Blackhawks (7-0-2) have gone to a shootout in each of their first three games of a season-high, six-game road trip, but this was the first one they won.
Dennis Wideman also scored for Calgary (1-3-2). The Flames will begin a three-game road trip on Tuesday in Detroit.
Despite starting the season with five of their first six games at home, the Flames are last in the Western Conference standings.
“We’ve said it all along that we’re a better team, and tonight we showed it,” Tanguay said. “For some reason, when you don’t win you find ways to lose, and certainly that was one of those cases.”
Desperate for a victory, Calgary turned in its best period of the season in the third. Glencross was right in the middle of the Flames’ offense, with five shots in the frame as well as several other great chances that didn’t result in shots.
“Probably had seven chances at least,” Glencross said. “Hit the crossbar on a breakaway, lots around the crease, just didn’t get it over his pads. He played very well for them, Emery. This is one of those games where he deserved to win.”
Chicago opened the scoring at 4:08 when Kane fired in a rebound after Patrick Sharp hit the post. Calgary tied it at 13:23 on Wideman’s power-play goal.
“If we play like we did today, we’ll win a lot of games. We pretty much outplayed one of the best teams in the league,” said Backlund, whose six shots were second on the team behind Lee Stempniak, who was credited with nine.
Chicago entered Saturday as one of three teams without a regulation loss. New Jersey was beaten by Pittsburgh in regulation on Saturday, and San Jose lost in a shootout.
“I see many positive signs all over our game, and it’s just a matter of collecting a couple of wins and growing a little confidence,” Flames coach Bob Hartley said. “If we play every game like we played tonight, we’re going to turn our season around, that’s for sure.”
Kiprusoff made his sixth straight start after the 36-year-old Finn gave up an uncharacteristic 19 goals in his first five. That left him with a gaudy 3.76 goals-against average and .854 save percentage.
NOTES: Tanguay earned his 500th career assist. … Going back to last season, Calgary’s Jarome Iginla has gone nine games without a goal. He has only one in 17 games. … Chicago C Dave Bolland (lower body) didn’t play after getting hurt Friday in Vancouver. … Calgary D Cory Sarich was a healthy scratch for the first time. … The game’s only fight featured Tim Jackman and Brandon Bollig in the first period. The Flames entered the night as the only NHL team without a fight.
(© 2013 by STATS LLC and Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and Associated Press is strictly prohibited.)