Flames set sights on 2020 after dismal start in loss to Blackhawks

Patrick Kane had two goals and two assists on Tuesday night as the Chicago Blackhawks jumped out to a 4-0 lead then persevered a furious late Calgary rally for a 5-3 victory over the Flames.

After helping set up goals by Olli Maatta at 4:14 and Alex Debrincat at 5:35, Kane made it 3-0 at 12:44 of the first period when he gained the Calgary zone, cut across the slot and beat David Rittich with a wrist shot from 30 feet out.

Kane’s 21st goal of the season was the 377th goal of his career, tying him with Denis Savard for fourth on the Blackhawk’s all-time list. The top three are Bobby Hull (604), Stan Makita (541) and Steve Larmer (406).

Kane’s second of the night was an empty-netter at 19:59 of the third.

Kane finishes the decade as the NHL’s top scorer with 802 points, just ahead of Sidney Crosby (788).

Dylan Strome also scored for Chicago (18-17-6), which has won three straight and five of its last six.

Sam Bennett, Michael Frolik and Sean Monahan scored for Calgary (20-17-5). The Flames are winless in their last five at the Scotiabank Saddledome (0-4-1).

Robin Lehner was excellent in net for the Blackhawks, winning his sixth straight start to improve to 12-6-4. Among his 41 saves was a highlight-reel stop in the first period when he dove across to make a paddle stop off Johnny Gaudreau, who was set up for what looked like a sure goal by Derek Ryan. Five minutes into the second, Lehner thwarted Andrew Mangiapane on a breakaway.

Slow starts piling up

It was an all too familiar start for Rittich and the Flames, who fell behind 3-0 for the second game in a row. On Sunday night, in a 5-2 loss at home to Vancouver, Calgary was down 3-0 less than 11 minutes into the game.

Rittich was pulled that night after three goals on seven shots. This time, after three goals on 11 shots, interim head coach Geoff Ward left him in and he was solid the rest of the way, finishing the night with 26 saves. His record falls to 17-10-5.

Chicago made it 4-0 at 9:41 of the second when Strome was allowed to stroll uncontested and from 25 feet out, he ripped a shot into the top corner.

The Flames got on the scoreboard with six seconds left in the second, Bennett knocking in his first goal since Nov. 2 on a set-up from Derek Ryan.

Calgary then made it close in the late-going on Frolik’s shorthanded goal at 15:30, off a Duncan Keith turnover, and Monahan’s goal on a Matthew Tkachuk rebound at 16:48.

But the Blackhawks would withstand the Flames late push over the final couple minutes with Rittich pulled for an extra skater.

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