By Chris Kuc
11:13 PM PST, February 2, 2013
CALGARY, Alberta -- Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville nailed it with his description of Ray Emery's effort in goal against the Flames on Saturday night.
"That was criminal," Quenneville said shortly after watching Emery make 45 saves in regulation and three more in the shootout to lead the Hawks to a 3-2 victory over Calgary in front of a crowd of 19,289 at the Scotiabank Saddledome.
"We have to call the cops after that performance. We stole two points, he was spectacular. I've never been out-chanced and out-played like that in my life. It was a special performance."
Playing in just his second game of the season while starter Corey Crawford got a rest, Emery repeatedly stymied a Flames attack that included 24 shots on goal in the third period alone. Just when it appeared his efforts weren't going to be enough after the Flames' Jay Bouwmeester scored with 35 seconds remaining to take a 2-1 lead, Marian Hossa tied it with :03 showing on the clock to put the Hawks in position to earn their seventh victory in the first nine games of the season.
"It was scrambly," Emery said of the third-period onslaught by the Flames, which resulted in two goals for Calgary after Patrick Kane had opened the scoring for the Hawks early in the period. "Even though we had a lot of shots against we did a lot good job of battling and sorting things out and getting to loose pucks."
When asked if he was one of those goalies who would prefer to see many shots to remain in a rhythm, Emery said, "I'm one of those goalie that likes to win. However we go about that, whether it's 10 shots or 40 shots, it doesn't matter, I just like to win."
The veteran got that win by setting career highs in shots faced (47) and saves (45) as the Hawks improved to 7-0-2 on the season with a NHL-high 16 points.
"(Emery) was awesome, fun to watch," said Kane, who had a goal and an assist in regulation and the winning score in the shootout. "We obviously got out-played and shouldn't have won that game but he was the only reason we did. It's good to see, especially for a backup goaltender like that. We have confidence in him and he really showed us (Saturday night). They had almost had 50 shots and he played unbelievable. The two points go to him."
Emery and Miikka Kiprusoff staged a goaltending duel through the first two periods -- with each stopping a breakaway chance in the second, Hossa for the Hawks and Jarome Iginla for the Flames.
Finally Kane put the Hawks on the board early in the third to stake Emery to a lead. But Dennis Wideman evened it later and Bouwmeester put Calgary on the verge of victory before Hossa punched in a rebound off a goal-mouth scramble in front of Kiprusoff as the clock wound down.
In the shootout, Kane was the only Hawks player to beat Kiprusoff while Emery stopped all three chances by the Flames (1-3-2).
The third consecutive shootout for the Hawks equaled a franchise mark and came in the second of back-to-back contests and the third game in four nights to kick off a six-game road trip. The win snapped a two-game losing skid and kept the Hawks' points streak alive, having recorded at least one in every game this season.
"It's great, especially being on the road, back-to-backs, three-in-four," Emery said. "It's a testament to guys getting prepared and coming to play and battling out there."
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