NHL: Blackhawks start fast, rout Flames
CHICAGO — Patrick Sharp and Kris Versteeg scored 19 second apart in a three-goal first period and the Chicago Blackhawks grabbed control early and beat the Calgary Flames 5-1 on Saturday night to take a 3-2 series lead.
Game 6 is Monday night at the Pengrowth Saddledome, where the Flames won Games 3 and 4 to even the first-round Western Conference series.
Chicago will have a chance in that game to wrap up the franchise's first playoff series win since 1996. A deciding Game 7 — if needed — would be back at the United Center on Wednesday night.
Chicago's Brent Seabrook opened the scoring on a power play 9:19 into the game and a little less than 2 minutes later, the quick goals from Sharp and Versteeg made it 3-0.
Dustin Boyd cut it to 3-1, scoring for Calgary early in the second.
But when Chicago's Andrew Ladd got it right back with a goal, Flames coach Mike Keeenan had seen enough and pulled goalie Miikka Kiprusoff with 6:14 left in the period. He gave up four goals on 18 shots.
Curtis McElhinney got the call and gave up Cam Barker's third goal of the playoffs, a slapper from the left circle that appeared to hit a skate and put Chicago ahead 5-1.
Chicago's Nikolai Khabibulin, who gave up nine goals in the two games at Calgary, made 19 saves. He held the Flames scoreless when they had two-man advantage for nearly a minute and a half in the final period.
Seabrook took a nice centering pass from Martin Havlat and beat Kiprusoff from between the circles. Chicago had an early 8-0 shots advantage, six on two power plays, before Seabrook's first career playoff goal.
The Blackhawks continued to pepper the goal, using their speed to beat the Flames to loose pucks. Chicago's dominant play was reflected in its 15-3 shots margin in the opening period.
Sharp muscled in a backhander from the crease to make it 2-0. Just 19 seconds later, Versteeg collected a loose puck that Calgary's Olli Jokinen didn't see and rammed it home from the left side, setting off a wild crowd at the United Center.
Boyd scored on a rebound after a driving shot by teammate Adam Pardy, but minutes later Ladd fought defenseman Dion Phaneuf and Kiprusoff in the crease before shoving it in — a score upheld by video replay.