Published January 08, 2015
(SportsNetwork.com) - The Chicago Blackhawks begin their annual Circus Trip on Thursday night, with the first of six straight on the road coming against the red-hot Calgary Flames.
This November road trip is a yearly tradition for the 'Hawks as each year the United Center hosts the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus. Chicago went 6-1-0 on the Circus Trip last season and is 3-4-0 as the road team this campaign.
The Blackhawks' 10-day trip comes on the heels of a 6-2 win over Dallas on Sunday. That victory was Chicago's third in four games and was made possible thanks to a four-goal third period.
Patrick Kane had the first of the frame, snapping a tie 4:49 into the period. Jonathan Toews, Kris Versteeg and Brandon Saad also scored in the period, while Kane, Versteeg, Brad Richards and Marian Hossa all finished with two assists each.
Corey Crawford turned aside 22 shots as Chicago had 47 shots on net.
"It seemed like we had a lot of control of the play, put a lot of shots on net," Kane said.
Richards' two assists came in his 1,000th NHL game and gave him 599 for his career.
Chicago won't have defenseman Trevor van Riemsdyk for this trip, or the foreseeable future as he suffered a left patella fracture after taking a shot off his left knee. He is expected to undergo surgery on Thursday an miss 3- to-4 months of action.
The Flames, meanwhile, hope to pass another big test tonight as they are coming off a 4-3 shootout win over the Anaheim Ducks on Tuesday. Calgary needed to rally to get the win, scoring three times in the third period.
Jiri Hudler started the comeback with a third-period marker and defenseman Dennis Wideman scored twice in the period to put Calgary up a goal, but Anaheim forced extra time on Kyle Palmieri's power-play tally with 4:55 to go in regulation.
Johnny Gaudreau and Sean Monahan scored in the shootout and former Ducks goaltender Jonas Hiller stopped two of the three skaters he faced after posting 24 saves through overtime.
"When we scored that first goal that's where the game changed around and we took control of the third period," Flames head coach Bob Hartley said.
The Flames have now won the first three of a five-game homestand and have gotten a victory in seven of their past nine.
Calgary has won three of its past four versus Chicago, including a 2-1 road victory on Oct. 15. Mikael Backlund had the winner with 24.8 seconds left in overtime and Hiller came up with 59 saves.
Wideman also scored for the Flames, while Andrew Shaw had a late goal for the Blackhawks to force overtime and Crawford made 16 saves.
Hiller is 11-6-2 with a 2.22 goals against average and .931 save percentage in his career versus the Blackhawks, while Crawford is 3-2-3 with a 2.62 GAA and .896 save percentage lifetime against the Flames.
Chicago has lost five of its past seven in Calgary.