CHICAGO – When it comes to facing teams that are looking ahead to the postseason, the Blackhawks have to prepare right from the start, because their opponents don’t want to deal with the potential of an upset.

That was certainly the case on Monday night as they hosted a Flames team still jostling for position in the postseason while the Blackhawks continue slowly towards the end of a long season.

Calgary struck for a goal in the first minute and had three scores by the end of the first period with the hosts only able to get one back.

That left the Blackhawks in a familiar spot of chasing their opponent, which didn’t turn out well as the Flames would hold off a rally attempt to win it 5-2 at the United Center on Monday evening. It’s the tenth loss in the last 11 games for Derek King’s team falls to 25-40-11 on a season that still has six games remaining.

First period struggles have been something the Blackhawks have dealt with all season long as they’ve been outscored 76-57 combined in the first 20 minutes of games. They’ve trailed at the end of the first period 26 times this season and only four times have been able to get a victory with three games ending in overtime or shootout defeats with 19 losses.

On Monday, the Blackhawks did what they could to make it a game with Tyler Johnson getting a goal after Calgary took an early 2-0 lead. After Blake Coleman put the Flames up 3-1 before the end of the first period, Alec Regula’s first NHL goal to cut the lead to one midway through the second period.

Despite the Blackhawks holding the Flames off the scoreboard for the second period and most of the third, they could never bring it to even, and two empty-net goals by Calgary in the final two minutes put the game away.