CALGARY, Alberta — Andrew Shaw’s slashing penalty in the second period had coach Joel Quenneville fuming.
“Yeah, he’s lucky he got a shift,” Quenneville said of Shaw going back out after that infraction. Shaw, however, made up for his gaffe in the best way possible.
Shaw scored the game winner, his third goal in as many games, and Scott Darling stopped 31 of 32 shots in the Blackhawks’ 4-1 victory over the Calgary Flames. The Blackhawks remain in third in the Central Division with 93 points, with the Nashville Predators lurking right behind them with 91.
Andrew Ladd had two goals — including an empty netter — and an assist and Teuvo Teravainen added an empty-net goal with 12 seconds remaining in regulation.
Marcus Kruger played his first game after missing more than three months with a wrist injury.
“It was a lot of fun being out there again,” he said. “I’ve been practicing for a long time and you’re always wondering how it’s going to be in a real game. It was good to get that going today and obviously it was nice to get a win.”
Still, it was tough to guess which way this one was going to go midway through the second, when it was tied 1-1. Shaw’s penalty was part of a rough few minutes in the second for the Blackhawks. They got through the short-handed time but Shaw knew his second penalty was ill-advised.
So a little more than a minute after leaving the penalty box, he redirected Michal Rozsival’s pass for a 2-1 Blackhawks lead they wouldn’t lose.
“I needed to make up for that dumb penalty I took, so I did what I could to get to the net,” said Shaw, who has been finding his game again lately. “I picked up my game. I started getting back to the nitty-gritty, going to the net, in your face, finishing checks, using my speed and good things have started coming my way.”
So did the Blackhawks overall. Most of the credit in this one goes to Darling, who was great from start to finish and probably earned Sunday’s start against the Vancouver Canucks, too. Dougie Hamilton got the Flames’ lone goal in the second period.
“He was huge,” Shaw said of Darling. “He had some big-time saves, fought through traffic to find pucks and he was lights out tonight.”
The Blackhawks were in a situation in which they needed points badly. They made some mistakes again on Saturday but they, Shaw included, made up for them with a necessary victory.
“We’ve lost a ton of ground here. Trying to get a win was the most important thing,” Quenneville said. “We found a way to win, which is nice. Darls was very instrumental in the win but scoreboard watching when you’re in this position is not what we need to be [doing.] We needed to get two points, take care of our own business.”