OTTAWA, ON -- The Calgary Flames gained the lead twice against the red-hot Ottawa Senators but fell 3-2 on Tuesday night as they closed out their three-game road trip in the nation's capital.
The top line was the story for the Flames as Niklas Hagman, Matt Stajan and Jarome Iginla combined for six points and 11 shots on net. The three have been building chemistry since the two former Maple Leafs came to Calgary and this was their finest game as a trio.
Despite their fine performance, the team was not happy with the way they let the win slip through their fingers. The team had been excellent defensively in the first period, only allowing two shots on through the first 12 minutes of regulation, and continued that through part of the second period. That's when it fell apart. Defenseman Adam Pardy pointed to not playing a full 60 minutes as the culprit.
That’s the way we have to play,” Pardy told the assembled media. “But we’re playing for our playoff lives. We can’t just play 15 minutes. We’ve got to play a full 60, 65 if needed. It’s disappointing because it’s two points that we need and we should’ve got.”
Hagman opened the scoring at 16:51 of the first stanza. His first as a member of the Flames came after a great play by Iginla. The captain drew a crowd of Senators to him as he entered into the offensive zone. He held the puck just long enough to let Hagman enter into the zone all alone and then made a quick pass to the Finn. Hagman wasted no time and wired the puck past Brian Elliott with authority.
The Senators answered back just 19 seconds later when Alex Kovalev scored on a power play. His shot just seconds after a faceoff bounced off Daymond Langkow and past Miikka Kiprusoff.
Another former Maple Leaf gave the Flames a lead early in the second period. Stajan was the recipient of another great Iginla pass, leading to his 18th goal of the season. This time, Iginla took a nice pass from Hagman through the neutral zone and carried it into the offensive zone with three Senators hanging off of him. Stajan went ahead of the captain however and Iginla threw it up to the streaking forward. Stajan put the puck over Elliott's glove in a highlight reel goal.
The Senators rallied and put two goals past Kiprusoff by the end of the second period. First, Jarko Ruutu threw an errant pass into the back of net from the slot. Then, Jason Spezza kept his hot streak alive when he scored with just under 4:00 left in the frame.
After the game, head coach Brent Sutter couldn't hold in his frustration with the way the tide had turned in the second frame.
“In the second period, we got totally off our game,” he stated. “We got really sloppy. We tried to make the perfect plays in the neutral zone. We tried to use speed but not with intelligence. We were looping away with no support."
The third period was pretty quiet offensively until the final minute when the Flames nearly put in an equalizer while techinically killing a penalty. Jay Bouwmeester took a late holding call and the Flames opted to pull Kiprusoff and play five-on-five. It nearly paid off as once again the top line generated a great scoring chance when Hagman threw the puck on net at a sharp angle with Stajan waiting on the doorstep but the centerman couldn't whack the puck past Elliott.
Sutter was less than pleased with the effort his team put forth in the final period.
“They pressured us, but that’s what we were supposed to be doing in their zone,” said Sutter. “But we didn’t do that enough because we wanted to make the perfect play, the fancy play, in the neutral zone.”
The Flames are back in the C of Red on Thursday when they square off against the Dallas Stars. The puck drops at 7:30 p.m. on Calgary Flames PPV & The FAN 960.
|WHY THE FLAMES LOST |
|The Flames were territorially dominant for the first two periods before allowing the Senators to take over the pace of the game in the final frame. The Flames were only able to put six shots on net in the third period and only a couple were good scoring chances. The Senators defense clamped down and the Flames couldn't manage to generate a good forecheck for most of the third period. In comparison, the Senators put 10 shots on net in the third period and were constantly surrounding the Flames net, prowling for rebounds. |
|ROSTER NOTES |
|D Aaron Johnson and F Brian McGrattan were healthy scratches for the Flames. F Rene Bourque sat out with an undisclosed ailment but did skate on Tuesday morning. The Senators left out F Shean Donovan and D Erik Karlsson. |
|TONIGHT'S DIGITS |
|13 - Multi-point games for Iginla this season. |
21 - Goals for Hagman this season. He has 1 as a member of the Flames.
30 - Assists on the year for Iginla.
2 - Shots on net for the Flames through the first 15 minutes of the third period.
5 - Shots for Iginla and Christopher Higgins
|"It’s nice to have him . . . the depth there where you can slide someone in if someone gets hurt, it’s huge. He’s contributed for us at different times. We certainly need that. I thought that his play had dropped off there a little bit. Because it’s not just about the offensive part of it, it’s other areas on the ice and the things you have to do. Now he’s going to get an opportunity, he has to take an advantage of it." - Sutter on Lundmark. |
in the second period, we got away from our game,” said Stajan.
“We can’t give away points like that. We gave them the lead and couldn’t get it back." - Stajan on the team's performance.
"We’ve got to get a few practices under him How many that is, who knows? It’s a good sign that he’s fully practising now." - Sutter on Nigel Dawes, who joined the team in Ottawa and has started taking part in team practices.
|HARDEST WORKING FLAMES |
| || || || |
|Jarome Iginla |
2 great passes led to both Flames goals, 5 shots on net
| ||Niklas Hagman |
Scored his 1st as a Flame, 1 assist, great in all 3 zones
| ||Miikka Kiprusoff |
Held his team in the game all night, 29 saves