The Canadian Press - ONLINE EDITION
Jonathan Toews scores twice as Chicago takes 2-0 series lead against Flames
CHICAGO - Jonathan Toews' first two career playoff goals were more than a personal milestone for the 20-year-old Chicago Blackhawks captain.
The first got his team back in the game.
The second, with just 24 seconds to go in the second period, put Chicago ahead as the Blackhawks rallied for a 3-2 victory over the Calgary Flames on Saturday night in the Western Conference quarter-finals.
Now with Toews and goaltender Nikolai Khabibulin leading the way, the Blackhawks hold a 2-0 lead with Games 3 and 4 of the best-of-7 series in Calgary on Monday and Wednesday.
"It's not always the way we drew it up," Toews said after Chicago got off to a slow start before coming from behind to win for the second straight game. "We knew there was a lot of hockey left."
Toews' second goal of the period came on a rebound with only 24 seconds remaining in the second and made it 3-2.
"It was kind of a fresh start for us. It was a great second period and an even better third, knowing we held them off for so long," Toews added. "The last two games have been incredible experiences."
When Calgary's Miikka Kiprusoff stopped a hard slapper from the left circle by Dave Bolland, the puck bounced off of him. Toews was right there to knock it in and give the young Blackhawks the lead.
Khabibulin made it stand up with some stellar stops in the third before finishing with 30 saves. Kiprusoff also stopped 30 shots.
"We established a good road game. We took the lead, played with a lot of authority in the first period," said Calgary coach Mike Keenan. "We expected them to come back and push us hard, which they did. ... We didn't respond like we needed to. They were able to take the game back in the second period."
Jarome Iginla and Adrian Aucoin gave the Flames a 2-0 lead in the opening period, momentarily quieting another raucous crowd at the United Center. But for a second straight game the Flames couldn't hold a lead.
"We didn't make plays on the puck and we were getting pushed off it. That's unacceptable," Iginla said. "Nobody's happy here. We know we let not only one game, but two games slip away and we'll see what we can do and what we're capable of."
Chicago responded with the power-play goal from Toews early in the second and a tying score from Patrick Sharp before taking the lead.
"Down 2-0 in your own building is not anything you are looking for," Chicago coach Joel Quenneville said. "I liked the way we battled back. ... After the first period we weren't happy. We knew we had a power play in our back pocket. That was pivotal for us. We got some huge momentum off that."
The Flames were 0-for-43 on the power play over their final 10 regular-season games and 0-for-3 in Game 1 before Iginla converted. Dion Phaneuf fired a shot from the point, and after teammate Mike Cammalleri had a chance in-close, Iginla followed in the rebound past Khabibulin for a 1-0 lead.
With both teams a man down, the Flames made it 2-0 when former Blackhawks defenceman Adrian Aucoin shovelled in a shot from the crease after the puck bounced off Chicago defenceman Duncan Keith's stick and went under Khabibulin.
But on a power play 46 seconds into the second period - the penalty started near the end of the first - Toews took a nice diagonal pass from Sharp and easily pushed it past Kiprusoff to cut it to 2-1.
"That to me was the big goal of night for us. It ignited the building and ignited our team," Quenneville said.
Sharp tied it with just under six minutes to go in the second when he streaked to the net ahead of the Calgary defence and took a pass from Patrick Kane for the goal.
Khabibulin then turned away four shots on a Flames power play, and minutes later Toews put Chicago ahead.
Early in the final period it was Khabibulin making a great save on a close-in attempt by Olli Jokinen and another with his leg minutes later to stop Rene Bourque to keep Chicago ahead.
He made another big stop with 1:47 left when he turned away another shot by Jokinen.
"He was spectacular," Quenneville said of Khabibulin, who beat Calgary in the 2004 Stanley Cup finals as a member of the Tampa Bay Lightning.
Just like Game 1, Calgary came out aggressively and banged the Blackhawks around on the boards. Chicago's Martin Havlat, who scored two goals in the opener including the winner 12 seconds into overtime that provided a 3-2 victory, was a prime target for the Flames' hard checking, as was Kane.
Notes: Flames D Cory Sarich, who missed the final six games of the regular season and Thursday night's playoff opener with a foot injury, returned to the ice. ... Da Coach Mike Ditka dropped the ceremonial first puck. Chicago Cubs pitcher Ryan Dempster, of Gibsons, B.C., participated in a promotional puck shooting contest between the second and third periods.
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