The Blackhawks staged a dramatic rally from three goals down Wednesday night but the Calgary Flames regained the lead to win 6-4 in Game 4 of the Western Conference quarterfinals at the Pengrowth Saddledome.
The Hawks lost despite coming from behind to even the score after tailing 4-1 late in the second period.
"We showed a lot of heart coming back," said defenseman Cam Barker, who had an up-and-down night with a giveaway that led to a Calgary goal but later scored during the Hawks' rally. "It was a bad turnover by me there to start off the second. It really turned the momentum for them but I thought we really worked hard to get back into it. We stuck with the system but we couldn't find a way to get another goal."
Patrick Kane scored early in the first to give the Hawks the lead and it came off a terrific play and pass from teammate Patrick Sharp. Sharp raced down the left side of the ice, skated around former Hawks defenseman Adrian Aucoin and flipped a backhand pass to Kane, who buried a one-timer from between the circles past Calgary goaltender Miikka Kiprusoff.
With the Flames' fanatical crowd subdued a bit from Kane's score, Calgary got it going again when Flames' captain Jarome Iginla scored to tie it after one. Calgary's offense then exploded in the second, getting two goals from Olli Jokinen and one from Aucoin.
"We had a tough stretch in the second period," Hawks defenseman Brian Campbell said. "You can't do that too often in playoff hockey."
Like the resilient bunch they have been all season, the Hawks roared back with three consecutive goals in the final eight minutes to close out the period and head into the third tied 4-4.
A Kris Versteeg power-play goal midway through the period started the onslaught. Versteeg picked up a rebound of a Campbell shot and sent it into the open net after Kiprusoff had come out to challenge the outside shot.
Barker then took a saucer pass from Sammy Pahlsson while between the circles and flipped the puck past Kiprusoff to put the Hawks back in it suddenly at 4-3.
With the momentum they tied it at 4-4 with :32 remaining in the second on a goal by Pahlsson, whose shot from the outside eluded Kiprusoff.
Nystrom's game-winner came when he knocked a rebound of a Cory Sarich shot past Hawks goalie Nikolai Khabibulin. Iginla finished the scoring with an empty-netter in the final minute.
"It was a real gutsy performance in terms of our determination and desperation to come back and finish the game off properly," said Flames coach Mike Keenan, whose team played without an injured Rene Bourque. "We had a real hard effort from a depleted lineup and we showed we have people who want to step up and carry the load."
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