Berra, Flames top Blackhawks 3-2 in overtime
CALGARY, AB -- Calgary Flames coach Bob Hartley didn’t hesitate to throw Reto Berra into his first National Hockey League game a day after summoning the goaltender from the minors.
He made the most of the opportunity.
Kris Russell scored 1:32 into overtime and Berra made 42 saves in his NHL debut to lift the Calgary Flames 3-2 against the Chicago Blackhawks at United Center on Sunday night.
Berra, 26 was acquired from the St. Louis Blues last spring along with Mark Cundari and a first round pick (Emile Poirier) in exchange for Jay Bouwmeester. He was recalled from the Abbotsford Heat of the American Hockey League on Saturday and joined the team in Chicago, the first of four games away from Scotiabank Saddledome for the Flames.
After the Swiss goaltender faced 44 shots in regulation, Russell fired the puck behind Blackhawks starter Corey Crawford just 1:32 into overtime to give Calgary their first win in Chicago since March 16, 2008. It was the only shot in extra time.
After a scoreless first period that saw Berra make 18 saves and TJ Galiardi miss on a penalty shot attempt, Patrick Kane put the Blackhawks on the board in the second.
Skating the puck off the near boards, out to the blue line and down the far boards, Kane zipped his eighth of the year by a screened Berra to give Chicago a 1-0 lead at 6:25.
Curtis Glencross put the Flames up early in the third. Just 2:16 into the frame, a streaking Glencross wired a shot over Crawford’s shoulder and under the bar to give Calgary a 2-1 lead. The goal pushed Glencross’ point scoring streak to four games and with an assist on the play, Matt Stajan extended his to five.
That held until 15:41. Down two men with Chris Butler whistled for holding and Stajan 18 seconds later for concealing the puck, Marian Hossa capitalized, one-timing a Kane feed by a screened Berra to tie it 2-2.
The goal came after Berra robbed Patrick Sharp on a backdoor feed from Kane and another with his glove off Kane’s shot from the faceoff dot, two of his 13 saves in the third.
GOAL OF THE GAME
Streaking down the wing with a step on a Blackhawks defender, Glencross ripped a shot over the shoulder of Crawford and just under the bar to give Calgary a 2-1 lead just 2:16 into the third period.
SAVE OF THE GAME
Down two men with both Butler and Stajan in the penalty box, Berra went post-to-post to deny Sharp’s tap in on a cross-crease set-up to temporarily keep the Flames up 2-1 with six minutes left in the third.
Russell’s overtime marker gave Calgary its first win at the United Center since March.
QUOTE OF THE GAME
“I thought he was great, especially early. He settled us down. It was unfortunate we didn’t have the best start we should’ve but he did a great job and made big saves. I’m glad he got his first win in his first game.”
-Russell on Berra via Sportsnet 960 The Fan
STAT OF THE GAME
Butler had a game-high four hits. The defenceman also played a season-high 26:04 and recorded an assist in the game.
Lance Bouma and Chad Billins were scratched against the Blackhawks. Mark Giordano (lower body), Lee Stempniak (lower body) and Christopher Breen (abdominal wall strain) all missed the game due to injury.
The Flames have Monday off before returning to action Tuesday to face the Minnesota Wild at the Xcel Energy Center (6 p.m. MT, SNET-Flames).
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