Calgary Flames Post-Game: Flames put up five on sleepy Senators in win

Photo credit:Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports
Ryan Pike
1 year ago
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The Calgary Flames welcomed the Ottawa Senators to town on Sunday evening. Facing a team that had played the night before (and travelled), the Flames generated a lot of chances and scored on quite a few of them en route to a decisive 5-1 victory over a visibly fatigued Ottawa hockey club.

The rundown

The Flames opened the scoring in this game. Multiple times, actually. About midway through the first period, Tyler Toffoli tipped a Troy Stecher shot past Kevin Mandolese to make it 1-0. But the Senators challenged for off-side and the goal was wiped out. It was part of a weird first half of the period that saw the Flames hit iron three times.
A little later, on a Senators power play, the Flames opened the scoring for real. Elias Lindholm made a nice read with the puck, holding onto it through a zone entry, firing it over to Mikael Backlund coming in as the trailer. Backlund was steered away from the slot by the Senators, but he found Rasmus Andersson sneaking into the slot and Andersson buried the feed to make it 1-0 Flames.
Late in the period, the Flames doubled their lead, this time on one of their own man advantages. Off a rush zone entry, some nice criss-cross passing ended with Lindholm buring a one-timer feed from Backlund (as he was parked just to Mandolese’s right) to make it 2-0 Flames.
The Senators got on the board a few minutes into the second period off a weird sequence. Jacob Markstrom went to play the puck off a dump-in. He passed to Mikael Backlund low, between the circles and the goal line. Backlund attempted to pass behind the net to MacKenzie Weegar, but Backlund’s pass went off Markstrom’s pads and right to Tim Stützle, who put it into the unattended net to cut Calgary’s lead to 2-1. (Probably everybody in red wished they had made difference choices on that one.)
The Flames answered back a little later, though. Nazem Kadri and Jonathan Huberdeau broke into the Senators zone on a two-on-one rush. Kadri lobbed a nice pass into the slot into the air. Huberdeau deflected the mid-air pass past Mandolese to give the Flames a 3-1 lead.
A little later, Noah Hanifin jumped into the rush off a zone entry. Kadri found him charging in with a pass and Hanifin beat Mandolese low glove-side to give the Flames a 4-1 lead.
The Flames padded their lead in the third period. A Milan Lucic forecheck off a dump-in led to a Senators turnover that ended up on Trevor Lewis’ stick in the slot. Lewis buried the chance to give the home side a 5-1 edge.
The Flames held on for a 5-1 victory.

Why the Flames won

Let’s call a spade a spade: this was a scheduled win. Ottawa played on Saturday night in Vancouver, then flew to Calgary, losing an hour in the air through the time zone change and another hour due to daylight savings. They looked tired in this game.
But give the Flames credit: they were in a position to take advantage of a tired opponent, and did so. Thoroughly. The Flames were much better than Ottawa early in this game, took advantage of their chances to give themselves a comfortable lead, and then defended perfectly well on their way to a victory.
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Red Warrior

It’s joint award time to three Flames.
  • One is to Markstrom, who was really good on a few early Senators chances. The Flames were a little leaky at times defensively, and Markstrom was full marks for not allowing them any freebies.
  • Another is to Backlund, who made a couple really nice passes that resulted in the first two Flames goals.
  • The other is to Kadri, who made a couple really nice passes that resulted in the next two Flames goals.

Turning point

Huberdeau’s goal, reinstating the Flames’ two-goal lead, allowed everybody to take a deep breath and ignore the calamity that was the first Senators goal.

This and that

The Flames’ elimination number now sits at 12.5. Any combination of Flames losses and Colorado wins that add up to 12.5 results in the Flames being mathematically eliminated from post-season contention. (A Flames or Colorado overtime loss would reduce that number by 0.5.)
Lindholm’s goal the 200th of his NHL career.
Brady Tkachuk was not booed by the Saddledome faithful, nor was he cheered. The largest crowd reaction towards Senators players was reserved for Artem Zub, who was greeted with “Zuuuuub!” whenever he touched the puck.

Up next

The Flames (30-24-13) are headed back on the road. They’re headed back to Arizona State University on Tuesday evening to face the Coyotes.

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