The Calgary Flames entered the game having a shot at a winning record on their season-long six game road trip. Heading into the trip, the Flames faltered against the Edmonton Oilers, but bounced back to capture three of a possible four points against the Toronto Maple Leafs. At the halfway mark, it seemed certain that the Flames could string together a couple of wins against the Ottawa Senators and finish above .500, after all, every other team in the division has.
Well, in search of reasonable expectations, the Flames added an extra dose of hubris, and ended up dropping two of three to the Senators. In their two wins over the Flames, the Senators outscored Calgary 11-2. What happened?
After a busy February and a long road trip, the Flames looked burnt out more than anything. The game started with both teams being fairly low-event with not much happening in the first ten minutes of the game in terms of shot attempts. Then both teams picked up the pace but the game was still scoreless after one.
The second period opened up again slow for Calgary, but this time around, Ottawa came out swinging and just a bit after six minutes of the period elapsed, the Senators were able to score twice in about two minutes’ time. The first was a goal from Artem Anisimov, and then Drake Batherson followed up to extend his goal scoring streak.
Calgary responded on the power play, with Milan Lucic picking up his sixth goal of the season. He’s three quarters of the way to his output of eight goals last year, in just a third of the games. Unfortunately for Calgary, their momentum in mounting a comeback was short lived, as Batherson scored again just over a minute later to restore the two goal lead for Ottawa.
The Flames entered the third period playing from behind needing a multi-goal comeback. There were small bursts of fire from the Flames, especially during the 4v4 play with Rasmus Andersson and Erik Gudbranson sitting out on coincidental penalties, but the Flames couldn’t solve Matt Murray. As the period drew towards its end, the Flames perhaps too quickly pulled David Rittich for the extra attacker without having sustained offensive zone time, in which Colin White made quick work sealing his team’s victory.
To rub salt in the wound, Ottawa scored once more after Rittich returned to his net, as Evgenii Dadonov scored to make it the third time the Flames would lose on this road trip by scoring one goal while conceding at least five. There was some sloppy play from the Flames throughout the game, with errant passes and slow reactions; just not much resembling NHL hockey coming from Calgary. Indeed, they’re a tired team right now, but it wasn’t pretty.
The Flames return to the Saddledome to close out their four-game series against Ottawa. One team is rolling right now, and they’ll be the visitors come Thursday night. Game visualisations below:
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