The Calgary Flames had the schedule on their side on Sunday, playing an Ottawa Senators club that won in Winnipeg on Saturday and then travelled. The Flames scored early and often against their tired opponent, staying alive (technically) in the playoff race with a 6-1 victory over Ottawa.
The Flames registered nine of the first 10 shots recorded in the first period. Midway through the period, Mark Giordano sprang Johnny Gaudreau into the Senators zone with a flip pass. Gaudreau never quite got separation from Victor Mete, but he deked while losing his footing and beat Anton Forsberg five-hole to make it a 1-0 game.
Shots were 10-3 Flames and scoring chances 12-3 Flames in the first period.
The Flames started the second period with energy and added to their lead just 17 seconds in. Mikael Backlund’s line made a nice push but whiffed on their initial scoring chance. But Backlund buried a pass from Andrew Mangiapane after he won a battle behind the net to make it 2-0 Flames.
A few minutes later, Gaudreau made a gorgeous pass from the corner to the slot for Matthew Tkachuk. Tkachuk put it past Forsberg to make it a 3-0 Flames lead.
A few minutes later, Michael Stone wandered into the Senators zone and buried a high slapper past Forsberg to make it 4-0. An assist went to Glenn Gawdin for his first NHL point and it spelled the end of Forsberg’s evening.
Josh Norris answered back for Ottawa 61 seconds later, beating Jacob Markstrom off a nice pass from Drake Batherson. (Norris was curiously left all alone by the Flames defenders.) That cut the lead to 4-1 Flames.
Shots were 18-12 Flames and scoring chances 13-8 Flames in the second period.
The Flames padded their lead with a pair of third period goals. Dillon Dube buried a great pass from Derek Ryan to make it 5-1. On a late power play, Giordano beat Filip Gustavsson with a point shot to make it 6-1, which was the final score.
Shots were 8-5 Flames and scoring chances 4-2 Flames in the third period.
Why the Flames won
They had a great start and generally out-worked and out-battled a tired Senators club in all game situations.
Gaudreau led the way with three points and a lot of jump. But a lot of Flames players were strong. A dozen of their 18 skaters registered points.
The turning point
The Backlund goal just 17 seconds into the second period really deflated the Senators and set the table for a big middle frame for Calgary.
Data via Natural Stat Trick. Percentage stats are 5v5.
This and that
Including tonight, Flames are 18-5-2 when scoring first; 11-4-1 when leading after first and 19-1-0 when leading after second.
— Calgary Flames (@NHLFlames) May 10, 2021
The Flames (23-26-3) are back on Thursday for the first of four straight games with the Vancouver Canucks.