Ladd has 2 goals, assist and Blackhawks beat Flames 4-1

CALGARY, Alberta (AP) — Clutch performances from Andrew Ladd and Scott Darling led the slumping Chicago Blackhawks to an important victory on Saturday night.

Ladd had two goals and an assist and Scott Darling made 31 saves to lead Chicago to a 4-1 victory over the Calgary Flames.

Mired in a 1-4-2 skid entering the game, the Blackhawks remain two points up on the hard-charging Nashville Predators for third in the Central Division.

"We've lost a ton of ground here and trying to get a win was the most important thing," Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville said. "We've still got to be better, but we found a way to win, which was nice."

Ladd's first multipoint game with Chicago gives him eight points in 12 games since the Blackhawks acquired the left-winger from Winnipeg just prior to the trade deadline.

Andrew Shaw and Teuvo Teravainen also scored for Chicago, which kicked off an important four-game trip.

"We know where we're at in terms of the standings," Ladd said. "Nashville's right on our heels and St. Louis is pulling away. We understand this road trip is a big road trip for us."

Dougie Hamilton scored his career-high 11th goal for Calgary. Back home after three games on the road, the Flames head back out for a four-game trip beginning Monday in Arizona.

Chicago led 2-1 on Shaw's 14th goal with 49 seconds remaining in the second period.

Michael Rozsival spotted Shaw open at the side of the net and directed a hard slap-pass from the point diagonally through the slot that Shaw deflected behind Joni Ortio.

Darling improved to 8-7-3. He was perfect after Hamilton's goal in his fifth start in a row with Corey Crawford (upper body) sidelined and not on the road trip.

"Darling was huge. He made some big-time saves. He fought through traffic to find pucks. He was lights out tonight," Shaw said.

Darling was especially sharp in the second period when his 11 saves included several key stops to keep the game 1-1.

It was a stellar bounce-back outing after being pulled after the first period last game against Dallas, when he allowed four goals on 15 shots.

"We had unbelievable chances in the second period on our power play. I thought that our power play deserved to score a goal. We had great chances but we just couldn't get the red light on," Flames coach Bob Hartley said.

Ortio had 23 saves.

Chicago opened the scoring at 5:51 when TJ Brodie tried to go cross-ice in his own end and had it picked off in the slot by Ladd, who quickly whipped a high wrist shot under the crossbar.

Calgary tied it at 12:47 on a great moment for the Hamilton brothers. Freddie Hamilton partially fanned on his shot from the slot but had the puck slide to his brother Dougie at the side of the net, and he directed it in the open side. Playing their fourth NHL game together, the two celebrated their first combined goal with an emotional hug in the corner.

"In junior there were a lot of those — Hamilton from Hamilton. We always enjoyed that, so to do it in the NHL is pretty cool," said Dougie, the younger brother.

NOTES: Chicago's Marcus Kruger (dislocated wrist) returned after missing 41 games. He bumped Dale Weise to the press box as a healthy scratch. ... Deryk Engelland returned for the Flames after missing three games due to the birth of his second child. ... Calgary's Sam Bennett has gone 18 games without a goal. ... Flames' Mark Giordano played game No. 585, tying him with Gary Roberts for 9th in franchise history.