Markstrom unbeatable as Flames tip Blackhawks
CALGARY — Thanks to Jacob Markstrom's 32 saves, Calgary stole two points on Saturday night.
“Obviously you want to put on a better performance for your goalie, but he was dialed in tonight and he played an outstanding game,” said Flames defenceman Rasmus Andersson. “Sometimes you need your goalie to steal a game and today was a perfect example of that.”
While Chicago only held a slight edge in shots at 32-30, the Blackhawks had a wide edge in quality chances with Markstrom forced to stare down five breakaways in the first 40 minutes.
“I feel like every game we're giving up a lot of grade A (chances) or breakaways,” said Lindholm. “Our game hasn't been where we want it to be and this guy has been battling every game and gives us a chance to be in it and have a chance to win.”
Boris Katchouk and Lukas Reichel got free inside the game's opening seven minutes, only to be turned aside. In the second, after Katchouk got in alone again short-handed but shot high, it was Philipp Kurashev all by himself but Markstrom flashed the glove to deny him on a deke.
Then, keeping the score 1-0 late in the second, Markstrom thwarted Isaak Phillips after he split the Flames' defence.
“The last few games, we've had some crazy bounces and it was nice to be on the right side of those for once,” said Markstrom, who improves to 14-13-2.
Calgary (22-22-5) finishes its six-game homestand with just two wins.
“You look at our last number of games and we've gotten leaky, I think there's a little mental fatigue,” said Flames coach Ryan Huska. “So this break is coming at the right time for our team where the guys can get away for a little bit and not think about hockey.”
The Blackhawks (14-34-2) have lost 10 straight on the road and are winless (0-19-1) in their last 20. The franchise record is 22 set in 1950-51 (0-20-2).
"Obviously it's really frustrating,” said Chicago defenceman Kevin Korchinski. “We've got to bear down and maybe not put it into words. Let our actions do the talking."
Petr Mrazek had 29 stops for Chicago. He falls to 12-19-1.
“We've had some games where we've had maybe more chances and more shots than the other team but maybe not the quality, but tonight I think we had the quality as well,” said Chicago coach Luke Richardson. “I don't know if I've ever seen six breakaways in a game and zero on the score clock.”
Calgary went 1-for-2 on the man advantage while Chicago was 0-for-2.
"It's obviously really frustrating when you do get looks and the puck's not going in,” said Chicago forward Taylor Raddysh. “At the end of the day you have to bear down on a couple of them. As a whole group we need to find that extra little jump or step to be able to bang one home and get one by the goalie."
The lone goal came at 15:55 of the second.
On a power play, Lindholm set up Yegor Sharangovich in front, whose one-timer was blocked by defenceman Jarred Tinordi, but the puck caromed right to Lindholm at the side of the net and he fired it into the vacant side with Mrazek caught out of position.
“It's been a while, I've had a lot of chances, just haven't been able to put them in. So it's always nice to score again and also to help the team win,” Lindholm, who ended a 15-game goalless drought.
It's just his second goal in the last 25 games for Lindholm, who was selected by the NHL as Calgary's representative for the upcoming all-star game.
“He usually doesn't celebrate too hard when he scores so you can sense the relief,” said Andersson.
Two years removed from scoring 42 goals, Lindholm — who is a pending unrestricted free agent — has just nine goals through 49 games.
The Flames announced that LW A.J. Greer will be out eight weeks with a fractured foot sustained in Thursday night's loss to Columbus. Inserted into the lineup was Walker Duehr, who assumed Greer's fourth line spot alongside rookies Cole Schwindt and Adam Klapka.
LINES IN A BLENDER
Blackhawks: Kick off a five-game homestand against the Minnesota Wild on Feb. 7.
Flames: Open a four-game road trip on Feb. 6 against the Boston Bruins.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 27, 2024.