How it happened: Almost nothing went right for the Hawks as they lost in Calgary for the first time since 2006. Bad penalties, poor penalty killing, and simple miscues doomed them from the start, despite scoring the game’s first goal. After Jack Skille was given a gift tally on a shot that Miikka Kiprusoff should have stopped, the Flames took over. They scored a power-play goal in each of the first two periods while adding even-strength scores on Hawks’ fundamental mistakes. First, Troy Brouwer turned a puck over in the defensive zone that led to a Calgary goal, then Niklas Hjalmarsson couldn’t control a puck he gloved out of the air, leading to an odd-man rush the other way. Jarome Iginla, who recorded his 11th career hat trick in the rout, finished that scoring chance. Alex Tanguay had three assists for the Flames. Brouwer scored for the Hawks with 19 seconds remaining.
What it means: The Hawks took a major step back against a team they’ve matched up well against in recent years. In doing so they drop back to .500 in regulation at 10-10-2 and face an uphill climb to have a winning road trip. They’re now a pedestrian 7-6-2 when scoring first. The positive vibes coming from the 5-0 shutout of Edmonton on Wednesday are gone as the Hawks once again have to regroup.
What’s next: Two 2010 playoff opponents are up next. The Hawks fly to Vancouver following the Flames game and immediately take on the Canucks Saturday night. That will complete the first half of the road trip. Then there is a three-day break before meeting the San Jose Sharks on Wednesday.