The Ottawa Senators were in Calgary today, looking to avoid losing their fourth straight game. They were unable to do so as despite a decent effort from the whole team, particularly Marcus Hogberg, they were beaten by the Calgary Flames on the second game of a five-game road trip.
Both teams came out strong in the 1st; Ottawa was the first team to get sustained offensive zone pressure, before the Flames came back with some of their own. During the 1st half of the period, the Senators did very well to slow down the Flames through the neutral zone, turning the puck back the other way several times. Calgary turned up the heat in the 2nd half of the opening frame, getting many looks at the net, including several on a ninety-second shift in the offensive zone. Although Ottawa finished the period up in shots 9-8, they ended up down in goals 1-0 thanks to Dillon Dube receiving the puck after a face-off win by the Senators (?) and beating Hogberg five-hole with one minute remaining in the period:
The Sens came out in the 2nd as the better team, as they were desperate to end their offensive dry spell over the last few games. They pushed the shot attempts back to even by the end of the period (31-30 CGY) and were up in shots 17-15. Brady Tkachuk had two opportunities to tie the game but he couldn’t get off a clean shot at either open net. On the defensive side, Ottawa definitely looked like they had shaken off their loss yesterday, as they held up nicely against the Flames’ offence at even strength, and were able to kill off two penalties thanks to the usual suspects: Jean-Gabriel Pageau, Connor Brown, Vladislav Namestnikov and Chris Tierney. Ottawa would get a power-play of their own which would see them generate two shots on goal, though they once again failed to score.
The 3rd period started off slowly for the Senators as Calgary locked it down defensively, allowing only one shot in the first half of the period. While most of the team struggled, Hogberg kept the score 1-0 with some great saves, including one off of a deflection by Johnny Gaudreau.
Eventually, the Sens began to get something going offensively, and it culminated into the game tying goal by none other than Mr. November himself. Pageau took a pass from Thomas Chabot and ripped it top-shelf past David Rittich. Unfortunately, the Flames would re-take the lead thanks to a nice move in tight by Elias Lindholm. A few minutes later, while in pursuit of the tying goal, Chabot took a penalty in his own end on Matthew Tkachuk. The Senators would pull Hogberg while on the penalty kill as they carried the puck into the Flames’ end but it was shortly turned over and sent into the empty net. The game ended 3-1 for the Flames, with the shots even at 27 apiece.
- In his first game of the season, Hogberg was Ottawa’s best player, stopping 25 of 27 shots, including a five-hole attempt by Gaudreau on a breakaway. He needs to work on his rebound control, as the Flames had a few extra opportunities due to him failing to freeze the puck, but I think he should be given the start in the next game. He deserves it.
- Hard to fault anyone on today’s loss, but looking at the shot attempts, Mark Borowiecki and Nikita Zaitsev were caved in while on the ice together, posting a 5v5 Corsi For % of 30.00% and a 5v5 xGF% of 7.52%.
- On the other end of the spectrum, the Sens’ best line tonight was Tkachuk, Tierney and Colin White, with a sparkling 82.35% 5v5 CF% and 77.76% 5v5 xGF%. You can check out these numbers yourself along with many others at NaturalStatTrick.com.
- If what this team currently lacks is offence, perhaps it may be time to bring up Rudolfs Balcers (8 GP, 4G, 8A) and/or Drake Batherson (21 GP, 9G, 19 A) from Belleville.
The Sens battled the Flames evenly in terms of puck possession, struggling in the 1st, coming alive in the 2nd and then holding steady in the 3rd.
The Flames had their way with the Senators in the offensive zone, generating tons of chances from around the net. Ottawa also had several chances from around the net, but they struggled to match the talent in the Flames’ top six.
- It’s a 10:00 PM EST start on Tuesday Dec. 3rd against the Vancouver Canucks.