CHICAGO – Apparently, two games is the Blackhawks’ limit when it comes to losing streaks.
For the third time this season, the Hawks avoided dropping more than two contests in a row as they defeated the Flames 2-0 on Tuesday night at the United Center.
Nick Leddy and Brent Seabrook scored to provide the offense and goaltender Ray Emery continued his stellar play against Calgary this season to remain unbeaten with a 12-0-0 record.
The consistent Hawks improved to 25-4-3 this season and helped erase the memory of two straight losses after leading in the third period of both games. Avoiding prolonged skids has been the Hawks’ trademark this season and it has helped them record the most points in the NHL with 53.
“We know losing is going to happen in this game,” center Dave Bolland said before the game. “You can’t go undefeated. For us, it’s just staying positive and making sure what we did last game and the mistakes we made are going to be better in the next game. We have confidence as a team. We’ve got the depth and a team that can bounce back really quickly and not lose many in a row.”
Emery hasn’t lost any – period. The netminder made 16 saves to shut down the Flames for the second time this season.
In the first meeting between the teams in 2013, the veteran made a career-high 45 saves in a 3-2 shootout victory Feb. 2 in Calgary. Tuesday night’s win extended Emery’s NHL record for starting the season without a loss to 12 as he outdueled Miikka Kiprusoff at the other end of the ice. The shutout was Emery’s first this season and 12thof his career.
The Hawks controlled the pace of the game and finished with a 35-16 shot advantage but Kiprusoff kept the Flames in the game with a sparkling effort. Still, the veteran fell to 6-8-2 on the season as Calgary lost its 10th consecutive road game and is 12-15-4 overall.
Leddy solved Kiprusoff early in the opening period when he took a pass from Patrick Kane and fired a shot from the left dot that found its way through the goalie’s pads. The assist extended Kane’s points streak to seven games.
Late in the second, Seabrook scored when his shot deflected off the stick of Jarome Iginla and floated past the upraised glove of Kiprusoff. Kane added another assist and has five goals and nine helpers during his streak.
The Flames didn’t mount much of an offensive attack on Emery, but the netminder did have to make a splendid pointblank stop on a Lee Stempniak attempt in the second period.
“You’re playing to win every game,” Hawks coach Joel Quenneville said. “We didn’t anticipate winning every game this year, and you can learn throughout the season about different things you’re seeing. Just playing this one game at a time and playing consistent no matter who is in our lineup, we feel we should get points.”
The Hawks were without forwards Marian Hossa and Patrick Sharp, both sidelined with what sources said are shoulder injuries.
Star of the game: Ray Emery, Blackhawks, 16-save shutout
Up next: Ducks at Blackhawks, 7:30 p.m. Friday
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