With a tendency to gravitate toward goaltenders when it comes to making friends with teammates, Patrick Kane needed no formal introduction to the Flames’ Reto Berra on the occasion of the goaltender’s his first career NHL start.
The Blackhawks winger became close with the Calgary goalie when they were teammates on ECH Biel-Bienne of the Swiss League — where Kane played during the lockout last season — so Kane was not surprised by Berra’s effort in the Flames’ 3-2 overtime victory over the Hawks on Sunday night at the United Center.
“For whatever reason I’ve always been pretty close with the goalies I’ve played with,” said Kane, who opened the scoring with a rocket from the left circle past Berra. “That was no exception. I knew him really well. He’s a good goaltender. He’s one of those goalies that never really quits and is never out of the play.”
Berra proved that with 42 saves to halt the Hawks’ three-game winning streak in front of a crowd of 21,229. Kris Russell scored 1 minute, 32 seconds into overtime to win it for the Flames. Curtis Glencross had a goal and an assist and T.J. Galiardi also scored for Calgary, but it was Berra who stole the show.
“(Berra) was playing good,” Hawks defenseman Brent Seabrook said. “They do a good job; they bottle it up pretty tight in their own zone. I thought we got some good chances and he made some big saves. You have to give him credit.”
In addition to his goal, Kane had an assist on Marian Hossa’s power-play score that pulled the Hawks into a 2-2 tie with 4:19 remaining in the third.
“In the first period (Berra) probably got a little bit of confidence from some point shots maybe he didn’t see (and) he was getting pads and his body on,” Kane said. “Sometimes you have to generate a little bit more, but they play a good team game and don’t give you too much.”
Corey Crawford suffered the loss in goal as the Hawks appeared sluggish in the second of back-to-back games.
After a scoreless first period, Kane gave the defending Stanley Cup champions the lead when he controlled the puck in the offensive zone, circled to the left dot and let loose with a shot that sailed past Berra to the stick side.
As the cheers from the crowd were fading, Galiardi answered 50 seconds later with a redirection of a long shot by Dennis Wideman.
In the third, Glencross put the Flames in front, but Calgary then ran into penalty problems and gave the Hawks a 5-on-3 advantage. After the first penalty expired, Hossa cashed in when the veteran rifled a one-timer off a pass from Kane with 4:19 remaining.
Russell’s overtime winner came on a shot from the blue line that eluded Crawford (27 saves).
“It was nice being down 2-1 to get a 5-on-3,” Kane said. “We had a couple of chances we didn’t score on and then Hossa made a nice shot and we got ourselves … a point out of it.”