Star snipers Jarome Iginla and Olli Jokinen were key contributors for the Calgary Flames on Wednesday night. But in the end, it was truly Eric Nystrom's time to shine.
Nystrom broke a 4-4 stalemate with 6:56 remaining, and the hometown Flames held on to defeat the Chicago Blackhawks 6-4 in Game 4 of their Western Conference quarter-final before a red-clad, capacity crowd of 19,289 at the Pengrowth Saddledome.
"Now the series is zero-zero again," said Nystrom, the son of former New York Islanders playoff hero Bob Nystrom.
The host team has yet to lose in the best-of-seven opening-round series, which is tied 2-2.
Game 5 goes Saturday at Chicago's United Center (8 p.m. ET).
"It is going to be a long flight home tomorrow," Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews said. "It is far from over.
"It is frustrating and, yes, we were up two games and you can cry about that all day about having those first two games and then letting them have the last two and letting them get back in the series.
"But we knew they weren't going anywhere, so we're just going to have to battle and get momentum swinging back in our favour a little bit."
On the winning goal, Daymond Langkow cradled the puck to the ice with a glove and passed it to Cory Sarich, whose point shot was kicked back into the slot by Blackhawks netminder Nikolai Khabibulin.
With teammate Todd Bertuzzi and Blackhawks defenceman Brent Seabrook jostling in front, Nystrom slipped the rebound past Khabibulin for his second goal in as many games.
"You have got to get bodies [in front] because he is human," Nystrom said of Khabibulin, nicknamed the Bulin Wall.
"He is going to make a mistake here and there and if we put more pucks on him, there is going to be more mistakes than if we don't put the pucks there."
Nystrom added two assists to match the offensive output provided by Iginla and Jokinen, both of whom had two goals and one assist.
"He [Jokinen] and Jarome had the most ice time as forwards for us and played exceptionally well," Flames head coach Mike Keenan said.
"It is nice to score," admitted Jokinen, a 12-year veteran competing in the Stanley Cup playoffs for the first time.
"But it is much nicer to win games. It felt a lot better when we scored that fifth goal than when I scored my own goals."
Defenceman Adrian Aucoin counted the other goal for the fifth-seeded Flames, who have never come back to win a playoff series they trailed 2-0.
Miikka Kiprusoff kicked aside 28 of 32 shots.
Kris Versteeg had one goal and two assists for the fourth-ranked Blackhawks.
Samuel Pahlsson provided a goal and an assist, with Patrick Kane and Cam Barker rounding out the scoring for Chicago.
"We get to go home [and] have a break here, get some momentum back in our game," Blackhawks head coach Joel Quenneville said. "I like how we competed in this building."
Kane strikes first for Blackhawks
Patrick Sharp looked fully recovered from a bout of the flu as he burst by Aucoin and sent a backhand pass into the slot, where Kane ripped it past Kiprusoff to opening the scoring 4:40 into the contest.
But the Flames responded with four straight goals, beginning with Iginla's power-play marker 67 seconds later on a wrist shot from the high slot.
Fifty seconds into the second period, Barker had the puck roll off the blade of his stick and Jokinen pounced on it and scored high to the glove side for his first goal in 17 games — and first at the Saddledome since being dealt to Calgary at the March 4 trade deadline.
Jokinen then assisted on Aucoin's screen shot that made it 3-1 at 8:10, and fooled Khabibulin with a rising backhand to the stick side for his second goal of the period at the 9:16 mark.
But the Blackhawks struck back before the period was out, scoring three times in a little over seven minutes to even proceedings.
Versteeg's power-play goal trimmed it to 4-2 at 12:13, and he was later credited with an assist when Barker chipped in Pahlsson's centring pass at 16:44.
With 33 seconds left in the period, Versteeg retrieved the puck behind the net and fed it to Pahlsson, who scored from the inner edge of the circle to tie it at 4-4.
After Nystrom restored Calgary's lead, Iginla completed the scoring with an empty-net goal with 11 seconds remaining.
"Holy cow, protecting leads," Nystrom said. "It is amazing how it is easier to play coming from behind.
"Sometimes when you have a lead, you sit on it a little bit. But tonight, we persevered and battled hard to win this game."
Of concern for Calgary is the status of Langkow, who looked to take a slapshot off the right hand late in the third period.
Craig Conroy, who left early and did not return, and Rene Bourque, who didn't suit up, reportedly are nursing injuries too.With files from The Canadian Press