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Flames vs Sens - Scorched in the Capital

They clawed back after giving up four goals but unfortunately Josh Jooris couldn't score to extend the shooutout as the Flames lose an entertaining game in the nation's capital.

Marc DesRosiers-USA TODAY Sports

The traveling concluded as the Flames went into Ottawa looking to add a blow to the Senators push towards the post-season. The Flames being 4-2 on this east coast adventure wanted to add two more points to the eight they earned already.

First Period -

Off the opening draw, the necessity for a strong opening period was the only thing on the mind for the Flames. Ottawa, equally as hungry for points in their playoff pursuits as Mark Stone had one of the first quality chances of the frame. Fortunately Josh Jooris would feed a crisp saucer pass to Mason Raymond for a great opportunity but he would miss.

Ottawa's ability to enter the zone caused problems for the Flames throughout the period. Bobby Ryan's ability to dangle in through the Calgary defensive and nearly make it 1-0 might have been the flashiest play of the period. After trying to breakout of the defensive zone, Johnny Gaudreau would trip up Erik Karlsson sending the Flames to the penalty kill.

The best attempt during the man-advantage didn't come from Ottawa but it came from rookie Josh Jooris as he broke in along the boards attempting to make it a 1-0 game but veteran goaltender Craig Anderson stood firm on the play. The Senators would only get three shots on the power play; much of which came with seconds left.

Shortly after, Alex Chiasson made it 1-0 on a poor zone exit play by Raphael Diaz; left undefended and in close on Ramo he was able to put the puck behind Ramo after his rebound was stopped. The goal was Chiasson's 10th of the season.

Eric Gryba would catch David Jones would a huge hit along the boards though it seemed to harm Gryba more than Jones. Brandon Bollig, who for some reason slotted back in tonight over players with something valuable to bring to the team decided to fight Mark Borowiecki. It was more of hugging and snarling than anything.

Late in the first, Jean-Gabriel Pageau would have two strong chances in close on Ramo which fuelled a late period push by Ottawa allowing Milan Michalek to score his 12th of the year and make it 2-0 with seconds left.

Shots: 15-10 for Ottawa

Stray Observations:

  • Jiri Hudler's turnover which lead to Erik Karlsson drawing the game's first penalty wasn't a smart play by the veteran forward.
  • Joe Colborne didn't have the strongest of periods.
  • Johnny Gaudreau is lucky Gryba didn't catch him with the hit he attempted early on in the period
  • Mike Hoffman is a really great player. Ottawa has a very special player in him.
  • Zone entries against the team is one of the biggest gaps in the team's game.

Second Period -

The opening of the frame was seemingly resemblant of the third period against the Flyers. Within that sequence, the Senators would strike again as Mark Borowiecki would rip home his first of the season.

Kyle Turris' slashing call would send the Flames to to the power play. The 14th ranked PP (T-9th on the road) had some decent chances on the primary unit thanks to a Sean Monahan zone entry. Despite some decent chances, they wouldn't score but would get a decent three shots on net.

Just under a minute after the power play expired, Mike Hoffman the rookie SENsation (I'm sorry) would rip home his rookie-leading 24th goal of the year. Hoffman leads all rookie skaters this season in goals scored. With that, Karri Ramo's night was over as Jonas Hiller would be called upon to replace the Finn.

After gaining the offensive zone, a turnover by Dennis Wideman would send Erik Condra up ice however Wideman's backchecking efforts did help as the Flames kept it 4-0. The Sens persistence continued through out the period as Milan Michalek got another opportunistic chance in close.

Trying to make something happen, new-father Matt Stajan would toe-drag into Ottawa's zone attempting to make it a three goal game but it didn't work out. Moments after Stajan's toe-drag move Colborne would take an unneccsary tripping call sending Ottawa back to the power play. The penalty kill would hold firm and the Flames had a couple opportunities heading up ice.

Late in the period, the Senators took more more chances finding holes and entering the zone. Kris Russell broke up part of a three on one and Hiller cleaned up the rest the rest of the scoring chances. The Flames would go into the third trailing 4-0. Shots still in favor of the Sens 31-21.

Stray Observations:

  • Matty Franchise forever. I had no idea he could toe-drag.
  • Kudos again to Wideman for the backcheck on that offensive zone turnover. That might be the fastest we've seen him skate all year.
  • Kris Russell's sliding to break up much of that 3 on 1 is a play he needs to make more of. Those situations and decisions when they turn out good are more valuable than excessive blocking of shots. That was real defensive work and it deserves acknowledgement.
  • Disorganization and fatigue might be the biggest tones to the game through two periods of play.

Third Period aka Calgary's domain

Trailing by a few goals isn't something new to the Flames this season. Coming back in ten games to win this season isn't something new either. Within minutes of the final period, Jonas Hiller gave us a superb save to keep the Flames in it and ensure Hoffman didn't add to the lead.

Gaudreau and Jooris would have great chances early into the third period testing Anderson and looking for opportunities. Finally, after a failed zone entry and trying again Matt Stajan found Colborne who wired it home to break the shutout bid.

Ignited (see what I did there) and focused on finding opportunities with the Senators backing off a bit, the Flames got a break as Matt Puempel took an illogical interference call on Colborne sending the Flames back to the power play. Late into the PP, the Flames managed to solve Anderson once more with Kris Russell's second goal of the season.

59 seconds later, Mikael Backlund would make it 4-3 after a weird scramble in front of the net. The goal was Backlund's eighth of the season. Also hey, Brad Treliving! Maybe sign him ASAP, okay?

Driven by score effects and the inquantifiable intangibles everyone in the media raves about, Calgary chipped away consistently finding shooting lanes and driving play thanks to adjustments in lines and it paid off. With just under five minutes left in the period, Kris Russell would net his third of the season and second of the game thanks to Johnny Gaudreau and his father Jiri Hudler

The Senators blowing a 4-0 lead is one thing to be impressed by, but the Flames inherent disregard for logic is something else to admire with childlike whimsy. Nothing makes sense about this but by golly the entertainment value of screaming at the top of my lungs and scaring my cats. All that said, it was time for overtime.

Shots 24-9 in the period for the Flames, 45-40 for the Flames in the game overall.

Overtime -

Nothing insane or extremely valuable happened. Some chances from Ottawa early on but nothing of substantial quality. Overall, it wasn't an overtime period much like ones in the past where the Flames dominated and had strong chances.

Shootuout - Bold = scored

Round Flames Senators
1 Colborne Zibanejad
2 Ryan Gaudreau
3 Turris Monahan
4 Hoffman Schlemko
5 Michalek Hudler
6 Karlsson Jooris

Karlsson wins it. Flames fall 5-4 in a shootout and end the road trip 4-2-1.

Final observations:

  • Kris Russell had probably one of his best games this season (despite underlying numbers). I feel like I should probably address my stance on him here: I don't hate him. I just think he is misused and the role placed on his does not match the skill set that he has. That said, two goals tonight and 28:56 of ice time wasn't that bad.
  • Dennis Wideman playing 30:03 tonight was way too much again. Especially when we have TJ Brodie who was eventually playing with Raphael Diaz (I won't spoil Ari's stats recap because this is a key point in it).
  • David Schlemko was sorta out of position for one goal. It didn't help that Diaz failed to get it out of the zone either. That said, nice touch by Hartley using him in the shootout.
  • Joe Colborne's first period wasn't strong but eventually he made up for it. I don't like his usage on the power play and a lot of fans will agree on this. The Colborne on the PP experiment has been ongoing since last season and it never really works. Tonight he had what might as well be a season high in ice time at 21:36.
  • Matt Stajan had one hell of a game. I love that dude. He was doing everything possible tonight to try to make things happen. Including that toe-drag. Give him more ice time or capable linemates (like scratching Bollig).
  • What was the point of fighting, Bollig? Jones wasn't hurt, the hit was clean, and it proved nothing. It didn't motivate the team. All it did was keep you away from the ice (though you would have been sitting for those five minutes anyways). When can we stop using him when the team is clearly trying to overcome the odds and make the playoffs? His 5:55 tonight sure benefited a team in the hunt for points.
  • Josh Jooris had a heck of a game too. He's made some honest leaps and bounds this season as he's stuck and been probably of the better stories this season. I don't want to get too far ahead of myself when I say this but: I'm truly looking forward to what he can do next season as a sophomore.

Preview of the stats recap:

What If...

I got nothing. The Flames road-trip was a bit of an up and down experience for a lot of reasons. Beating one very good team in Detroit on Friday was huge. Beating a bubble team like Boston and helping the Panthers try to gain ground was a good win too. The losses to the Rangers and the Islanders are games some fans might look back on and say they could have used points there.

This season is confusing for so many reasons. The underlying numbers expect this team to collapse and they're fighting the odds, much like Colorado, Minnesota, and Toronto before them. Though all of them collapsed eventually; the Flames seemingly are trying to become a WELL BELOW average possession team riding questionable third period PDO. It's exciting as the cusp of playoffs for the first time in years is coming up, Don't get us wrong here; we're as excited as you are, but we're a little more grounded for our opinions of the team.

Maybe I'll get to spend my emergency playoff ticket fund this spring?