Something had to give...right? Well, maybe not.
The Ottawa Senators were in Calgary tonight to face the Flames, looking to end a 3-game losing streak amidst a stretch where they had gone 3-10-0.
Despite controlling the play in the first several minutes and having all the shots, it was the Flames who would give up the first goal. Local boy Jacob Bernard-Docker took a one-timer from a puck that came loose to the point, and although Jacob Markstrom made the initial stop, the rebound ricocheted off Yan Kuznetsov, who happened to be playing in his first career NHL game—nice start, kid:
Bernard-Docker gives Ottawa the early lead. Flames score moments later. pic.twitter.com/t5I6dYQpbL— Everyday Sens (@EverydaySens) January 10, 2024
Less than a minute later though, the Flames took advantage of a somewhat lucky bounce, as Parker Kelly failed to clear the puck near the blue line. Jakob Chychrun couldn't swat the puck out of mid-air, and Conor Zary found himself wide open behind him, with a two-on-one on Jake Sanderson. Zary kept the puck and sniped it top corner past Joonas Korpisalo, tying the game 1-1.
Chychrun was buzzing throughout, though, and he kept the team pressing for the final minute of play, and Dominik Kubalik was able to take advantage of a loose puck with Markstrom on the ground. Ridly Greig knocked Markstrom down, but only because he was shoved in, and because of that, the goal counted with just three seconds left in the period:
It was far from a perfect period, but they led 2-1.
That lead didn't last long into the second period though, as Yegor Sharangovich would tie it up again just 3:40 in. Mathieu Joseph turned the puck over behind the net, and Elias Lindholm made a fantastic kick pass to Jonathan Huberdeau, who then gave a one-time pass to Sharangovich who made no mistake on his shot.
From that point on, it became all about Martin Pospisil (??).
In the first period, he hit Zack MacEwan awkwardly into the boards, and Mark Kastelic came after him and a fight almost broke out. Then early in the 2nd period, Pospisil was going for the puck that Korpisalo was playing behind the net, and he was accidentally hit in the head by Korpisalo's shoulder/elbow. He laid down for a bit but was able to return. Then just minutes later, he took an undisciplined interference penalty on Josh Norris, which proved costly.
Claude Giroux and Drake Batherson were able to complete a nice passing play with Brady Tkachuk, with the puck ending back at Tkachuk, who scored his first goal in six games for a vintage Senators powerplay goal:
Brady Tkachuk puts the Senators back on top! pic.twitter.com/w1rq0uHwzq— TSN (@TSN_Sports) January 10, 2024
Before the period ended with the Senators up 3-2, Ottawa would get one more powerplay after Andrew Mangiapane's dirty check on Thomas Chabot that sent him into the corner of the post and crossbar. They couldn't take advantage, but neither could Calgary after Josh Norris' delay-of-game penalty to finish the period.
Yet for the third time in the night, Calgary wasn't down for long. Just 47 seconds into the final frame, Noah Hanifin had tons of room on the left side of the offensive zone and he used the screen in front of him to perfection. Korpisalo couldn't see much, and Hanifin's backhand floated in past him, making it 3-3.
And instead of going with the script, it was the Flames who scored the next go-ahead goal with 11:03 left. It all started with yet another failed zone exit (this time by Tkachuk), and Hanifin walked into the slot, but his stick broke on his shot. Miraculously, it went straight to Blake Coleman in front of the net though, and Erik Brännström couldn't defend him on the awkward play:
🔥Flames Goal🔥— Robert Munnich (@RingOfFireCGY) January 10, 2024
Blake Coleman puts the Flames up by one!
📽️: Sportsnet | NHL pic.twitter.com/nfmWZGeipb
As has been predictable all season long, there was just no pushback from Ottawa the rest of the game. Joseph had a missed breakaway, but other than that, they never looked like they were close to tying the game. Sharangovich would then double their lead with 4:15 left, essentially putting an end to the game. An empty-netter from Coleman with 2:48 would do just that, giving the Flames a 6-3 victory.
That's four straight losses for the Senators and 3-11-0 over their past 14 games.
- It seems like we're saying this every game now, but there's just no life to this team when they are going through adversity. They weren't necessarily playing their best when they had the lead three times in the game, but it was good enough. Then when they went down 4-3, it almost looked like they just gave up. It's pathetic.
- I've never seen Tim Stützle more dejected than after his giveaway on the empty-net goal. He just sat on the bench completely flabbergasted that he messed up and that this was another loss. Although he's far from their biggest problem (he's been very impactful overall), he can still be better.
- Joseph's return to the lineup was evident, as he used his speed to his advantage many times. With Shane Pinto coming back soon, we're close to seeing this roster being fully healthy (which is scary considering how awful they are right now).
- The 4th line was surprisingly their best line in terms of possession tonight, with Camrose-born Parker Kelly maybe wanting to impress his family. MacEwen was the highest at 75.0 CF%