Incredible Comeback or Epic Choke Job?
Twelve minutes into the first period, it appeared as if the Flames were going to embarrass the Blackhawks on their home ice, scoring five goals on their first eight shots, including a 53-second span where Calgary lit the lamp three times. Chicago goaltender Cristobal Huet was pulled in favor of Antti Niemi after giving up three goals on five shots, and the game appeared to be well in hand; you could chalk up a "W" for the Flames.
Not so fast.
What followed over the final 48 minutes of regulation was completely unexpected, as the Blackhawks rallied to tie the game at five, before winning 26 seconds into overtime on a goal from defenseman Brent Seabrook. The 'Hawks also received goals from John Madden, Patrick Kane, Dustin Byfuglien, Dave Bolland, and Patrick Sharp, while Mikka Kiprusoff was the goaltender on the hook for all six goals (on 33 shots) for Calgary.
It's tied for the largest comeback win in NHL history according to the Elias Sports Bureau. For the most recent 5-0 comeback, you just have to go back to February 19, 2007, and the Montreal Canadiens rallying to defeat the New York Rangers. Though, they didn't get the win until that game went to a shootout (back in the day, it would have simply ended in a tie).
So we go back to the original question: Does this get remembered as a great comeback by Chicago, a choke job by Calgary, or a happy medium that involves a little from column A and a little from column B?
On one hand, you have to give Chicago credit for not packing it in and starting to look ahead to Wednesday's game against Edmonton when it was 5-0 in the first period. But you also have to look at the Flames and wonder how a 5-0 lead turns into a 6-5 loss.
The good news for the Flames is they won't have much time to dwell on this one as their next game is Tuesday night in Columbus.