Blackhawks 3 Flames 2 (OT)
CHICAGO — Martin Havlat scored 12 seconds into overtime and the Chicago Blackhawks won their first playoff game in seven years, beating the Calgary Flames 3-2 on Thursday night in the Western Conference quarter-finals.
After tying it late in regulation, Havlat drove a wrist shot past Miikka Kiprusoff from between the circles to match the third-fastest overtime goal in NHL playoff history, and send the towel-waving crowd at the United Centre into a frenzy.
“It doesn’t matter who scored the goal. We got the first game the hard way,” Havlat said. “I know (Andrew) Ladd was in front. I took the pass from (Dave) Bolland and went to the net.”
Calgary coach Mike Keenan said there could have been interference called on the play.
“I believe it was Ladd who did not try to stop his movement toward the net and that’s goaltender interference,” Keenan said. “However, the officials saw it different or didn’t make the call because of the excitement of overtime.”
Mike Cammalleri gave Calgary a 2-1 lead about four minutes into the final period when he scored on a 2-on-1 break, taking a nice pass from Daymond Langkow.
But Chicago got even with 5:33 left when Havlat scored on his own rebound after Kiprusoff stopped his initial shot from the right circle.
David Moss opened the scoring for the Flames in the first period, and Chicago’s Cam Barker tied it in the second.
Game 2 is Saturday night in Chicago.
Havlat was three seconds off the NHL record of nine seconds set by Brian Skrudland for Montreal in 3-2 victory over Calgary on May 18, 1986, in the Stanley Cup finals.
J.P. Parise of the Islanders scored in 11 seconds of OT against the Rangers in 1975, and Chicago’s Pit Martin also scored at 12 seconds in 1972 against Pittsburgh.
Kiprusoff finished with 25 saves, including one on Dave Bolland to preserve the tie in the closing seconds of regulation.
Chicago’s Nikolai Khabibulin, who has a 22-5-2 regular-season record against the Flames and beat them in the 2004 Stanley Cup finals while with Tampa Bay, made 23 stops.
Chicago won the regular-season series 4-0, outscoring the Flames 19-7, but Calgary’s physical play from the outset Thursday night showed that the regular season has little bearing once the postseason starts.
The Blackhawks, making their first playoff appearance since 2002, have only 10 players with post-season experience and it took a while for them to adjust.
Barker’s tying score in the second came as he skated along the left circle and sent a wrist shot past Kiprusoff, who was screened on the play by teammate Anders Eriksson.
Just as Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville expected, the more experienced Flames came out with a physical style of play that early on stymied Chicago’s offensive rushes.
Calgary had a 10-5 shots on goal advantage in the opening period.
Ex-Blackhawk Rene Bourque delivered a crushing hit on 20-year-old Chicago star Patrick Kane, sending him into the boards and then to the ice in the second period, an example of the approach applied by the Flames.
But the Hawks began to match the physical play as the second period progressed and Barker’s goal gave them a lift to carry into the final period.
Kane had a breakaway attempt with 37 seconds left in the period but Kiprusoff flicked it away at the last second with his glove.
Moss, parked in front of the net, chopped a shot past Khabibulin — the score coming after a 3-on-2 for the Flames.
Craig Conroy took the first shot that bounced off Khabibulin before Curtis Glencross retrieved it and pushed it toward the goal where Moss converted at 8:38 of the first.
Chicago had a first-period power play opportunity after Kiprusoff flipped the puck over the glass for a delay of game penalty, but the Blackhawks couldn’t convert.
Toews was assessed a double minor for high-sticking, giving the Flames a 4-minute power play that carried over into the first 28 seconds of the second period.
But Calgary, which was 0-for-43 on the power play over its final 10 regular-season games, failed again with the extra man, getting off only one shot.