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14th of December 2018


Monahan, Lindholm help 1st-place Flames edge Blackhawks | CBC Sports

The Calgary Flames might not have been at their best Sunday night, yet they got the breaks they needed.

Sean Monahan and Elias Lindholm each had a goal and an assist as Calgary edged the Chicago Blackhawks 3-2 and sit atop the Pacific Division.

Derek Ryan also scored and Johnny Gaudreau had two assists for the Flames, who won their second straight game and for the third time in four contests.

"We got the two points, right?" coach Bill Peters said. "There's lots of things we could have done better. Could have managed the puck a little bit and made some decisions."

But the Flames managed to cash in on a flagrant Chicago mistake.

WATCH | Flames come away with a win in Chicago:

Mike Smith made 22 saves to win his 3rd start in a row and help propel the Flames to a 3-2 win over the Chicago Blackhawks on Sunday night. 2:10

Lindholm and Ryan scored power-play goals 1:26 apart in the second period to give Calgary a 3-1 lead after Chicago veteran Chris Kunitz received a major penalty and game misconduct for elbowing Travis Hamonic in the face.

"That ended up being the game-winning goal on the power play, so we did what we needed to do," Peters said. "You'd rather not see a guy take a head shot."

Hamonic said he probably has a broken nose, but the defenceman returned after the hit and played over 22 minutes.

"Probably not our best game, to be honest with you, but found a way to get through it," Hamonic said. "Found a way to win, came up with some big saves and big plays at the end."

Smith like 'a fish out of water' in net

Mike Smith made 22 saves, including a few flashy ones in the scoreless third, to preserve the win. While sprawled on his stomach, Smith stopped Artem Anisimov's point-blank attempt with his right skate with 5:14 left.

"A gaping net," Smith said "I was kind of a fish out of water there, kind of kicking my feet and fortunately got a piece of it."

Jonathan Toews and Dylan Strome scored for struggling Chicago, which dropped its fourth straight and lost for the sixth time in seven games. The Blackhawks fell to 3-8-2 under coach Jeremy Colliton, who replaced Joel Quenneville on Nov. 6.

Chicago's Corey Crawford blocked 38 shots.

Chicago has lost that leading feeling

The Blackhawks have led only once in their last seven games — at the end of a 5-4 overtime win at Florida on Nov. 24.

"I thought tonight was better, regardless of the result," Colliton said. "We don't control the result, we control our performance."

But Colliton couldn't control the hit by the 39-year-old Kunitz on Hamonic.

"It was hard to see and didn't really get a good look at it," Colliton said. "It was unfortunate."

In their previous six games, the Blackhawks had been outscored 17-4 in the first period and 31-19 overall. So, escaping the opening period tied 1-1, despite being outshot 18-6 by the Flames, was something of a moral victory for Chicago.

"A lot of little things seem to go wrong," Toews said. "It's just one of those things we're stuck in right now, snowballing in the wrong direction."

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