The finale of a 3 game road trip found the Flames in Ottawa to take on one of the NHL’s worst teams on the second night of a back to back. After some early rough spots the Senators got their legs underneath them and the Flames had all they could handle in the third period. Thankfully for the Flames David Rittich brought his A Game because the Flames needed it in the final 5 minutes.
1st Period: Flames 1 Senators 0
Well, if you were looking to see if the Flames would play focused and with a slight hint of desperation you got what you wanted in the first 20 minutes. Calgary came out with some serious jump in their step and owned Ottawa for the period.
The only goal of the period would come a little over 4 minutes in when the Flames would apply some pressure in the Ottawa end and Sam Bennett would grab his own rebound and tuck the puck in past Mike Condon for his 11th of the season and his second in as many nights.
The Flames would get a few more quality chances in the period, but Condon would shut the door, albeit while fighting the puck off and on in the first stanza.
1st Period Stats
2nd Period: Flames 1 Senators 0
Where Calgary looked to have the jump on Ottawa in the first period, the Sens battled back and pushed the pace of play in the second period. Calgary looked on their heels at times, but solid goaltending from David Rittich kept the Flames lead in tact as he stopped all 9 Ottawa shots in the second frame.
Each team had a power play opportunity, but neither team could find the back of the net. Calgary managed only 1 shot on their power play, leading to nothing exciting or quality.
2nd Period Stats
3rd Period: Flames 2 Senators 1
It only took 55 minutes, but the last 5 of the this game were incredibly entertaining. Out of nowhere each team had end to end rushes and more than solid goaltending by Condon and Rittich kept this from becoming a goal scorers contest.
Calgary would score first in the period when Johnny Gaudreau would start the rush and feed Curtis Lazar who in turn would find Matt Stajan for a beautiful goal giving the Flames a 2-0 lead. The goal was Stajan’s 4th of the season and Lazar was rewarded with a helper for his hard work on the night.
But as the Flames do, they giveth, they taketh. Johnny Gaudreau would turn the puck over in the neutral zone and Jean-Gabriel Pageau would come streaking in and be taken down by Dougie Hamilton. Pageau would get a penalty shot and would beat Rittch five hole, getting the Senators within 1 at 2-1.
Each keeper would hold their own in the final 3 minutes coming up with some monster saves to keep their teams in this contest, but David Rittich would do just enough and the Flames would hold on for a 2-1 victory.
3rd Period Stats
This was a big one for the Flames as they closed out a 3 game road trip with a win, getting 5 out of a possible 6 points on the road trip. With that said, Ottawa is one of the league’s worst teams and the Flames really should have taken this game with ease. Calgary looked content at times to hold onto a 1 goal lead and head home, but Ottawa forced the Flames hand at times and it looked like the Flames could fold at any moment in that wide open third period. A win is a win and the Flames will take it, but Calgary once again looked like they were playing from behind most of the night when they actually had a lead. They’ll need better efforts than this if they plan on getting themselves a Wild Card spot in the Western Conference.
Flame Of The Game
Sam Bennett (F). Bennett had the type of game most of us envisioned when the Flames drafted him. He scored his 11th of the season and had 4 SOG. If Bennett can keep playing like tonight, good things are ahead of him. Now he just needs to string together 4-5 games like that, but Calgary will gladly take that kind of effort tonight.
3/11: Calgary Flames vs NY Islanders 5 PM MT