The Calgary Flames returned back to the Saddledome after a five-game road trip with a full home crowd—at least as per government capacities. The Flames played in a 50% full Saddledome, hoping to snap their losing streak to get back on the right track with a game against the Ottawa Senators.
Jacob Markstrom returned to action after taking the backup spot to Daniel Vladar for their past two games due to maintenance. Unfortunately he was welcomed with an early goal on a turnover from Nick Paul on a broken play—the Flames being entirely sloppy in their own zone.
Nikita Zadorov had time to retrieve the puck as the Senators dumped the puck, but he sent it around the boards to Brett Ritchie who tried to set up a no-look outlet pass to get out of the zone. It landed on Alex Formenton‘s stick instead and a soft pass ended up on Paul’s stick for a quick shot that fooled Markstrom.
The Flames didn’t have a particularly good first period, and the Senators were both more effective at generating offence and converting on said chances. Before the period was over, Paul scored his second of the game. Again, the Flames were trying to get out of their zone, this time Backlund was skating it out, but he lost control of the puck right before the blueline and the Senators kept it in as most Flames were already out of position to defend properly.
The second period was similar for the wrong reasons. The Senators continued to be the better team—having more shot volume, quality, and were more tenacious on the puck overall. Most of the Flames’ shot attempts didn’t make it to the net and Matt Murray was not heavily challenged.
Also, Milan Lucic and Scott Sabourin fought to open the frame, and while Lucic won the fight, it didn’t generate momentum for the Flames. Andrew Mangipane was tabbed for a high-sticking penalty right after which tilt which could have played a part in stunting the momentum.
Towards the end of the period, the Senators extended their lead to 3–0, as Drake Batherson scored with just under a minute left. An impossibly tight angle shot from the goal line hit Markstrom’s mask before ricocheting into the back of the net. Good aim from Batherson and an unlucky outcome for the Flames.
The comeback third period has yet to be executed by the Flames this season, but they were looking to change that. Just 47 seconds into the third, Matthew Tkachuk scored by perfectly tipping in Chris Tanev‘s point shot. Cue the comeback?
Nope. The comeback instead remains in the queue for another game. Four minutes after Tkachuk’s goal, Connor Brown had a huge individual effort, capitalising on a misread by Rasmus Andersson in the Senators’ zone to escape both Flames defenders for a breakaway goal.
At this point, the Senators were happy to shut their own offence down, while Flames tried to reduce their deficit. Unfortunately, their offence came too little too late (being driven by score effects and all), and Murray stood his ground to close out the game for the Senators.
The Flames are now 2–4–0 since their COVID pause, and are also 4–4–4 overall on home ice this season. Game visuals below.
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