The senators started the game with a faceoff win, but they didn't exactly follow the dump with a chase as the Flames took control. They got the puck into the zone and after a little bit of control Dennis Wideman fired off the first shot about a minute into the game. They looked pretty sharp until Jyrki Jokipakka wound up turning the puck over for a two on one, but nothing really materialized for the Senators. The puck looked a bit lively; some seemingly abnormal bounces made it difficult for either team to establish momentum.
The first whistle came with 15:42 remaining when the Flames went offside. Ottawa got the puck deep into the Calgary zone, but didn't seem all too fond of actually going after the puck. The Flames got the puck back and advanced it back into Ottawa's zone way too easily. This horrible play from Ottawa set up the first goal of the game.
Ottawa tried to clear the puck out of their zone once the Flames had established momentum, but Jokipakka managed to keep it in. He got the puck over to Johnny Gaudreau who fed the puck back to Dougie Hamilton and he hammered it home from there. It was a decent shot and there was a slight screen by Sean Monahan, but given the range and the angle that's one that Andrew Hammond had to stop. The time of the goal was 5:24.
Play was back and forth for the next five minutes or so with very few stoppages. The Flames carried the lead into the ten minute mark and it was warranted. They lead in shots four to three at the post-ten minute stoppage, but things shifted in the Senators favour quickly from there.
Right out of the commercial break it looked like Matthew Tkachuk had himself a breakaway as he stole the puck away from Erik Karlsson. If it looked way too easy, it was because he was also trying to steal Karlsson's stick away in the process. He received a holding the stick penalty, the Flames went onto the penalty kill, and Ottawa quickly capitalized.
Derick Brassard won the faceoff and Mike Hoffman took control of the puck. They got it to their most dangerous player in Karlsson and he took it from there. It would have been a difficult save for Elliott, but it's one he possibly could have had. It took them only four seconds to score on the power play as the Flames special teams woes continue. The time of the goal was 11:36.
Shortly there after Sam Bennett took yet another offensive zone penalty as he was called for tripping. Michael Frolik mmade a foot save on the ensuing penalty kill and was in a noticeable amount of agony. The Flames managed to clear the puck off of the glass to force a stoppage, but there was still time left in the penalty kill.
Ottawa scored on the ensuing faceoff. Kyle Turris took control of the puck at the left point and fired it off. Mark Stone had a fantastic screen on Brian Elliott as the puck beat the Calgary netminder blocker side for the goal. Dion Phaneuf picked up the primary assist (his first assist of the season) while Ryan Dzingel picked up the secondary 14:51 into the period. The Flames looked utterly abhorrent on both penalty kills.
The Flames lost a step after the penalty kill as the Senators carried the play. Perhaps Ottawa was starting to find their rhythm, but the Flames didn't do anything to encumber that. Their play fell off and the looks on the bench were those of noticeable dejection. That four to three shot difference that had favoured the Flames was now a ten to four advantage for Ottawa with about a minute and a half left in the period.
The Flames finally found a bit of momentum from there as the Monahan line and Brodie pairing had the Senators on the ropes. Zack Smith committed the cross check and Calgary went on to maintain possession of the puck up until the 19:24 mark of the period. Gaudreau tried to do a bit too much as he skated above the slot and fired off an ugly looking backhander that Ottawa took control of. It would have been nice to see him a bit more composed to either get off a good shot or milk it as much as possible to ensure they'd get the most time possible on fresh ice to start the second.
Calgary started the man advantage with 36 seconds left in the first. They didn't manage any shots in that time period. Time expired with Ottawa up on top by a score of two to one, both goals coming off of the man advantage. Calgary finished with four shots on goal for the period - that's not going to win many games.
Hammond was injured at some point in the first period and Chris Driedger lead the Senators onto the ice after only two games in the AHL and the Flames were on the power play to boot. The Flames capitalized off of a nice, gritty goal by Bennett. Alex Chiasson made a fantastic backhand pass from behind the goal line and Bennett forced it through. Dougie Hamilton picked up the secondary assist a minute and 25 seconds into the period. Note that the goal was scored just after the power play expired so that percentage drops a bit more.
The official injury report on Hammond was that he had a lower body injury. He was ruled out for the game leaving the Senators with Driedger as their only healthy goalie. Craig Anderson is on bereavement for a personal issue leaving the Flames emergency goalie as the backup.
About four minutes into the period the Flames had the puck in the offensive zone and got it back to Kris Versteeg, but his stick had broken. He attempted to steal Cody Ceci's stick which possibly prevented a breakaway, but he was called on it and went off for the Flames' second holding the stick penalty. It was hardly a brilliant play by anybody involved on the Flames.
The Flames didn't look too terrible on this penalty kill. Brassard slid into Elliott like a baserunner into second base, but strangely enough it wasn't called. Ottawa didn't manage to score anyway as Elliot froze the puck. The third time was the charm for Calgary as they finally killed off a penalty, but Ottawa was clearly carrying the play up to this point as they lead in shots 20 to eight into the first commercial break of the period.
Chris Wideman tripped up Versteeg eight minutes into the period as Versteeg had the puck in the right corner of the Senators zone. Gaudreau came on and made some fantastic moves with the Calgary net empty. After some nifty play between Gaudreau and T.J. Brodie, the puck found Sean Monahan who fanned on the shot completely and the Senators took control.
The ensuing power play saw some nice defensive play by Ottawa, but also some sloppy power play from the Flames. They didn't have much going, but did manage to keep the puck in as time expired. The Flames bombarded the noticeably flummoxed Driedger who had zero rebound control. The puck hit the post and Hamilton was once again there to pick up the rebound and fire it home. Micheal Ferland and Brodie picked up the assists on what was technically an even strength goal at 5:24 of the period.
The Flames were very fortunate to be leading at this point. Heading into the second commercial break of the period, the Flames were being outshot 22 to ten, but held a three to two lead thanks to some horrid goaltending from Ottawa. Ottawa once again received power play thanks to a holding penalty by Bennett.
Elliott was the savior on the ensuing penalty kill. Ottawa had three shots on goal in two minutes as the Flames struggled to gain any type of control. They managed to kill of the penalty kill and head off to another commercial break and a chance to potentially gain some composure. Shots were 15 to six for the period at this point.
The Flames had a few chances in the waning minutes of the second including one that glanced of some bodies in front before bouncing off of the post, but Driedger swept it away before anybody could capitalize. At the end of period shots were 26 to 12 in favour of the Senators, but the Flames found themselves in the welcome position of having a noticeable advantage in net. They took a very fortunate three to two lead into the third period.
Ottawa continued to carry the play through the early part of the third period, but the pace slowed considerably. Ottawa had three shots on goal in the first five minutes to Calgary's zero. Their best opportunity came after about seven minutes had passed in the period when Troy Brouwer deflected a Jokipakka shot, but Driedger made a nice save.
The Flames were playing some absolutely horrid and boring hockey, but they were already up by a goal when they really turned on the jets. Chiasson made some nice moves to get the puck behind the net to Gaudreau. Gaudreau passed the puck to a Monahan who was set up in the slot for the one-timer. He let off a beautifully placed shot which beat Driedger blocker side to give the Flames a four to two lead nine minutes and 33 seconds into the third period.
Ottawa got the puck into the Flames zone, but the Flames regained control as Phaneuf and Deryk Engelland went at it. Phaneuf picked up the delayed penalty, but the Flames never had a chance to go on the power play. Tkachuk passed the puck over to Mikael Backlund and he and Frolik were off to the races. Backlund sent it over to Frolik who snapped it past an obviously outclassed Driedger with relative ease with 7:41 left in the game.
The Senators didn't have much fight left in them at this point and the Flames started to control play as the crowd facetiously chanted for Phaneuf. With 3:39 left in the period, shots were 31 to 19. It can't be understated how outstanding Elliott looked up to this point save for maybe one goal. All five goals for Calgary came at even strength.
Elliott made few good saves in garbage time as the Flames coasted to victory. The final in Calgary - the Flames three, the Senators one. This one wasn't necessarily a moral victory as they were completely outclassed for the first two periods but faced an inferior goalie, but that third period was something to build on. They finished with a 48.3 percent score adjusted five-on-five Corsi - nothing to write home about, but considerably better than their season average. Bring on Washington!
Matchsticks and Gasoline (and Media) Three Stars
First Star - Dougie Hamilton
2 G, 1 A2, GWG, 4 SOG, +3, 2 BS, 37.5% 5v5 CF%
Second Star - Brian Elliott
33 SA, 31 Svs, .9393 Sv%, 1.000 5v5 Sv%
Third Star - Michael Frolik
1 G, 3 SOG, +1, 3 TKW, 1 BS, 76.92 5v5 CF%