This wasn't just another one-goal loss for the Blackhawks.
This one actually came with a silver lining.
Tuomo Ruutu returned to the Hawks' lineup Monday afternoon after missing 25 games with a back injury.
While he didn't factor into the scoring, the 23-year-old Finnish phenom was productive in a 3-2 loss to the Calgary Flames, the Hawks' seventh straight setback and fifth in a row by one goal.
"I was monitoring his minutes and he got stronger as the game progressed," said Hawks coach Trent Yawney, who gave Ruutu 15 minutes 45 seconds of ice time. "You have to remember this kid has only played 80 games in two years, so we're not asking him to carry our team. But he's a big part of our future and needs to gradually get some playing time in."
Seven minutes into the game, the Hawks' Martin Lapointe won a faceoff in Calgary's zone back to Jim Vandermeer. The defenseman wristed a shot at the net and Ruutu provided a screen as the puck sailed past Miikka Kiprusoff.
On Ruutu's next shift, he saw Calgary forward Marcus Nilson coming out of his own zone with his head down and knocked him out of the game with a punishing hit.
"You don't skate through the neutral zone and admire your pass," said Calgary coach Darryl Sutter, admonishing Nilson. "Fins will hit Swedes."
The Hawks fired 14 shots in a row at Calgary's net before the home side responded with a tally from Jarome Iginla. Kristian Huselius gave the Flames a 2-1 lead early in the second period, but Kyle Calder replied 40 seconds later.
In the third period, the Hawks left Matthew Lombardi alone in front of goalie Craig Anderson and he scored the winning goal.
The Hawks rallied late and Ruutu almost knotted the score.
Radim Vrbata sent a pass onto Ruutu's stick, but Kiprusoff made an outstanding pad save.
"I felt great," Ruutu said. "I just played how I usually play."Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun