What was billed as the Tkachuk Bowl really wasn’t. Brady Tkachuk got the best of his brother on the score sheet, but Matthew and the Flames got two points with a 2-1 victory in Ottawa Sunday night. The real story? Austin Czarnik once again collected the game winning goal and is continuing his push to remain in the Flames lineup.
Let’s be honest, the Flames didn’t deserve this win, but good teams somehow find ways to win games they shouldn’t. Calgary had more zone time on the night. They had 35 shots compared to Ottawa’s 22. The Flames had 10 less giveaways. Add all that up and the Flames should have ravaged a depleted and defeated Senators team, yet Ottawa came to play. Despite dressing what could be the equivalent of an AHL roster, Ottawa blocked 24 shots, the out hit the Flames, won 57% of their faceoffs and were a crossbar away from beating the Flames.
Calgary opened the scoring in this low scoring affair with just over four minutes gone in the first period. Hard work from Sam Bennett on the forecheck would cause a turnover and Benny would find Mikael Backlund in the slot and he would bury a wrist shot giving the Flames a 1-0 lead.
That was it for a while. Craig Anderson played very well in net for the Senators and a beautiful poke check of Johnny Gaudreau on a break away really summed up the Senators in this game: you might win, but this rag-tag group isn’t folding or making it easy on you.
Brady Tkachuk would get the Sens on the board 15 minutes into the second period with a gorgeous break away goal that David Rittich had zero chance on. Tkachuk came streaking in one on one and got the best of the Flames keeper and Ottawa all of a sudden had some life, tying the game 1-1.
Now where good teams have good luck, bad teams have no luck. The third period was fairly pedestrian with not a ton of excitement until the final minute of the game. Newly acquired Anthony Duclair had David Rittich beat.....and sent one off the crossbar and the luck went the other way. Michael Frolik would find Austin Czarnik who would go forehand to backhand and beat Anderson with a beautiful backhander for the game winner at 19:19.
1st: 4:07- Backlund (13) (Bennett)
3rd: 19:19- Czarnik (6) (Frolik/Jankowski)
2nd: 15:38- Tkachuk (14) (Chabot)
This was one of those games that we’ve seen the Flames play all too often this season. Calgary is a VERY solid hockey team, but at times they win games that they have no business winning. The Flames should have blown this Ottawa team out of their own building, but for some reason they just didn’t seem to have it tonight. Maybe it’s trade talk, maybe it’s playing down to the competition, but a decimated Senators team came to play if for nothing but pride.
David Rittich returned to the pipes tonight after sitting for five straight games. Rittich looked pretty solid in his first game back, even though he only faced 22 shots. The only goal he allowed he had no chance of stopping and sure, he got lucky with Duclair, but sometimes your better to be lucky than good.
Finally, there were two disallowed goals in this contest which isn’t anything major. What is weird is they were both for the same call. Both Calgary and Ottawa lost a goal due to a goalie freezing the puck and then it being tipped in with no whistle. When’s the last time you saw that happen?
Flame Of The Game
Sam Bennett (C): Bennett was one of the best Flames players on the ice tonight. He was strong with the puck on his stick and he generated some good scoring chances for the Flames. He picked up an assist on Mikael Backlund’s first period goal and that offense was created due to hard work. He also had two shots and two hits on the night.
2/26: Calgary Flames @ NY Islanders, 5 PM MT