CALGARY, Alberta (AP) — The recent promotion of Matthew Tkachuk onto Calgary’s No. 1 power-play unit is paying off.
Tkachuk scored twice and Mark Giordano scored 52 seconds into overtime to lift the Flames over the Chicago Blackhawks 4-3 on Sunday night.
Calgary’s power play was in a 2-for-31 slump when coach Glen Gulutzan made some personnel changes to his top unit on Thursday. One move was inserting Tkachuk into the role of net-front presence.
The Flames have gone 3 for 8 with the extra man in the three games since, including a perfect 2 for 2 against Chicago.
“I felt like we were getting a lot of zone time, a lot of second efforts on the power play, a lot of really good looks, so it was nice for it to go in,” said Tkachuk, whose first goal came at 19:58 of the opening period.
Tkachuk gave Calgary a 2-0 lead at 4:42 of the second on a set play in which he got into open space and stuck his stick out, deflecting in Johnny Gaudreau’s pass.
“They’ve been working on that one play in practice and they just missed it the other night and they hit it tonight,” Gulutzan said.
In overtime, Mikael Backlund sent a pass back to the blue line where Giordano took a couple strides and fired a shot into the top corner on Jeff Glass. It helped Calgary salvage a win after Chicago’s Brandon Saad tied it with 1:46 left in the third period.
Sean Monahan also scored for Calgary, which had lost five of seven home games. Mike Smith turned away 34 shots.
Jordan Oesterle and Jonathan Toews also scored for Chicago. The Blackhawks extend their points streak against Calgary to 16 games (10-0-6), a streak that dates to Feb. 2, 2013. Glass finished with 35 saves.
“We’ll take any point that we can get, but obviously we want to get both points especially at the position we’re in,” Saad said.
Toews and Saad also had an assist and each snapped six-game pointless streaks.
Saad tied it with the goalie pulled. Toews won a faceoff back to Saad, whose quick shot deflected off the skate of Travis Hamonic and through Smith’s pads.
“Goals are going to happen. You just have to find ways to make the saves at important times,” Smith said. “Big goal…