The Calgary Flames faced off against the Ottawa Senators for the last time this season. The Flames came into the game actually behind the Senators in the standings, which pretty much sums up how this season has gone for Calgary. However, the home team put up six goals to at least save some face, and ended up closing out the season series with a lowly record of 3-5-1.
For Calgary, they sure would have liked to see this type of performance against the Senators more often, as every time they beat Ottawa, they did so with final scores of 6-3, 7-3, and now 6-1. Unfortunately getting just three wins against a team that the Edmonton Oilers swept is just going to be a painful reminder of the Flames struggles this season.
With Ottawa playing the night before against the Winnipeg Jets, they arrived to Calgary looking quite lethargic. In the opening period and essentially throughout the entire game, the Flames dominated. The Senators were held to just three shots on goal in the first 20 minutes, while the Flames ended up with 10. Comparatively, Ottawa had just eight shot attempts.
Johnny Gaudreau opened up the scoring for Calgary with an incredible breakaway goal that set the tone for the game. Mark Giordano was behind his own goal line when he passed the puck to Gaudreau. A few strides and stick handles later, Gaudreau tucked the puck in past Anton Forsberg with his backhand while falling to put Calgary up by one.
Just 17 seconds into the second, Mikael Backlund doubled up the lead with a sharp angle shot. Then just a little four minutes later, Matthew Tkachuk was right in front of the crease to tap in a one-timer from Gaudreau. Interestingly enough, earlier today the Flames Sunday Census discussed the four of Gaudreau, Tkachuk, Backlund, and Sean Monahan being prime candidates for rebound seasons, and three of the four went ahead and scored the Flames’ first three goals of the game. Monahan did not register a point in the win.
Just five seconds past the midway mark of the period, Michael Stone added to the Flames’ lead, which also earned Glenn Gawdin a primary assist for his first NHL point in his sixth career NHL game. A minute later, Josh Norris answered back with a goal to make it 4-1 Calgary.
In the third, Dillon Dube and Mark Giordano each scored to extend the lead to 6-1 for Calgary. Derek Ryan had a highlight reel effort on getting the assist on Dube’s goal as he intercepted a pass at his own blue line, made Nikita Zaitsev look silly, caused Olle Alsing to sprawl for a unfruitful block, and finally passed it to Dube who scored his 10th goal of the season. On Giordano’s power play marker, the duo of Tkachuk and Gaudreau collected assists to cap off three point nights for both of them.
Mathematically, the Flames are still in it. They need to win four against the Vancouver Canucks while Montreal has to lose two in regulation against the Edmonton Oilers. A perfect set of conditions are required, but this team really isn’t going to give up until it’s all said and done.
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