CALGARY, Alberta -- It might seem like the Chicago Blackhawks let up against the Calgary Flames when their matchup is right before or after playing the Vancouver Canucks, but more than likely it’s the Flames’ style of play that frustrates Chicago.
After getting waxed by five goals last November in Calgary, the Hawks dropped a 5-2 decision on Friday, ending a four-game winning streak.
“When you play Calgary it’s about working hard and making it simple and we didn’t do that tonight,” Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville said.
The Hawks only played poorly for the final 40 minutes, starting when they gave up two goals in the first minute of the second period to break open a 1-1 game.
“The start of the second was not good and all five goals we were very generous on our end of it,” Quenneville said. “Maybe we thought we were better than we were or were looking for an easy game.”
For the perfect example of what the Hawks were giving up, look no further than Duncan Keith. He was minus-4 and got benched for a portion of the third period.
“I think their first goal kind of gave them some life,” Keith said. “Seemed like we were playing catch-up for most of the game. I’d like to have that first one back.”
That first one featured a highlight-reel move by Lee Stempniak around Keith. It set the tone for his night, but Keith didn’t make any excuses or point any fingers.
“I know, myself, I can be a lot better and lead that way,” he said. “It starts on the back end there with myself. We need to come out with a lot better effort tomorrow.”
Keith has been very good since returning from an injury six games ago. Twice in the Hawks’ four-game win streak he was voted No. 1 star, but that doesn’t take away the sting of Friday.
“You’re never really happy about a loss or anything like that. Two points is two points,” Keith said.
To be fair, Keith wasn’t the only one to have a bad game.
“Start to finish we didn’t bring enough of everything that we do and that starts right in the D-zone,” Steve Montador said. “That’s called home base. We didn’t do a good enough job of protecting it.”
Montador was minus-2 and involved in some of the mess in the Blackhawks zone while the Hawks also only really had one forward line doing any damage. Jonathan Toews, Viktor Stalberg and Marian Hossa accounted for both goals.
“Our energy level just wasn’t there,” Toews said. “We weren’t moving our feet. We weren’t talking enough. We gave up too much.”
Maybe the former defenseman, Quenneville, said it all in responding to a question about how tough it was for his bottom lines to get traction.
“Some nights you don’t have to score five or six goals to win hockey games,” he said. “It’s a 1-1 hockey game. We can win 2-1, we can win 3-2, we can go to overtime. I don’t think we have to think we have to score five or six to be effective.”
Toews continued a hot stretch with two assists. He has 10 points in his last five games. Toews was 15 of 21 in the face-off circle and led the Hawks with five shots on goal. Hossa has nine points in his last five games including his ninth goal on Friday.
Keith’s minus-4 rating was a personal season-worst.
Ben Smith played 9:21 in his season debut and was minus-2.
“You’re going to run into a team that’s pissed off and eager to get better like Calgary and things won’t be easy for you. We kind of made it easy for them, by the turnovers and little mistakes we made. -- Toews
“You don’t want to start any period like that and a lot of time it’s the difference in the game.” -- Quenneville, on the Hawks allowing two goals in 17 seconds in the opening minute of the second period