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Hamilton, Elliott sharp in Flames' win over Ottawa

Dougie Hamilton and Brian Elliott were key in Friday's victory

by George Johnson @GeorgejohnsonCH /

CALGARY, AB -- Carrie Fisher's reaction to the reddish beard add-on has mercifully gone unrecorded, but Dougie Hamilton's turn as Princess Leia in a surprise Star Wars-themed Halloween visit to the Alberta Children's Hospital on Thursday certainly generated a torrent of Twitter hits.

Not to mention a few giggles from the young fans.

"I dunno,'' said Hamilton, post-game Friday when asked about his choice of costume selection. "Somebody's gotta do it, I guess.

"I dressed up as Elsa (from Frozen) one year in Boston, and as a baby.

"Anything to make the kids happy."

In terms of keeping the Calgary Flames kids - and old-timers, and coaches, and management - happy, 24 hours later Hamilton had ditched the signature white princess togs and cinammon -bun hairdo and assumed the hockey hero's role.

And then, in keeping with the Star Wars theme, there was goaltender Brian Elliott, whose personal slogan over the past three games might be:

May the forcefield be with you.

Hamilton's three-point night and 31 stops from an in-form Elliott propelled the Calgary Flames to a third straight win, 5-2 over the Ottawa Senators.

Video: Hamilton's two goals lift Flames over Senators, 5-2

Outshot and for stretches outplayed in their return from a confidence-reinforcing two-game, back-to-back road successes in Chicago and St. Louis, the Flames had Elliott, so solid at the both the United Center and Scottrade Center, to thank for hanging in despite a iffy two periods.

"He grinds,'' lauded Flames coach Glen Gulutzan of his puck-repeller. "He stays with it. He's a veteran guy who knows how to manage the ebbs and flows of a game.

"He's a worker, he's a grinder, he stays with it and was rewarded after two bad bounces.

"In this league, you are going to get games where you face a barrage and jump on you. I don't know why tonight but that's why we got a guy like that.

"To get us through this patches and get us some points."

After Hamilton's first goal of the year, a wrist from the righty point that sailed in short side on Sens' starter Andrew Hammond act 5:24, the Flames were guilty of taking a couple poor penalties - Matthew Tkazhuk tugging stubbornly on Erik Karlsson's sticks and a Sam Bennett trip - that cost them goals.

"We got ourselves into some trouble right away, a couple not-so-good calls against us,'' said Elliott afterwards. "You don't want to take those type of penalties. Those seems to cost you in the end.

"But we tightened everything down a little bit and got back to what got us success not the road there. We just kinda banged away."

Showing that maturity Gulutzan menitoned, Elliott shook off a couple of bad bounces on the Ottawa goals. The first, a screamer from two-time Norris Trophy winner Karlsson, might've nicked Deryk Engelland en route. The second, via Kyle Turris, clearly ricocheted off Dennis Wideman, leaving the Calgary goalie stranded.

"Some nights its going to go off our guys and out and other nights they're in,'' he reasoned. "I think it's a stick-with-it game, who can do it the longest.

"We definitely did that tonight. We didn't crack. We bent but we didn't break. That's the type of hockey it takes to win. But that's a good team over there with some skill. We beat them, I think, in their zone."

Despite being outshot 26-12 through 40 minutes, the Flames actually lead 3-2, Bennett converting a superb no-look, behind-the-back pass from former Senator Alex Chiasson and Hamilton somehow whipping an acute-angle shot behind ex-Calgary Hitmen star Chris Driedger, pressed into duty when Hammond (lower-body injury) failed to emerge - even to perch on the end of the bench - for the second period.

Video: OTT@CGY: Monahan's one-timer extends Flames' lead

An infinitely more polished, balanced third netted the locals two more goals, courtesy Sean Monahan and Michael Frolik.

"It's kind of a cliche sometimes - you go on a road trip and they say it's hard to come back and get a first good game at home,'' said Chiasson, bumped back up onto the No. 1 attacking unit alongside Monahan and Gaudreau.

"I mean, it wasn't really pretty in the first period when they scored the two power play goals. But we've talked about trying to stick with the process. The leadership group here, and Gully, and everyone are trying to buy in and when you stick with the process, stick with the game plan, we find a way to win."

The Senators put on a full press but were stymied by Elliott.

"It's very difficult to take, it's 26 to 13 for shots with tons of scoring chances but it turns out they're winning 3-2,'' admitted Sens' boss Guy Boucher. "It was tough mentally and emotionally because you know you are deserving [of] the game.

"It seemed like very time (the Flames) got that one chance they scored, and their goalie made some key saves."

For Chiasson, the evening had to be extra sweet. The 'W', two assists and a plus-3 rating.

"You get traded,'' he replied, shrugging. "It's part of the business. I've had some good games this year where I've not been rewarded on the scoreboard. But that's hockey.

"But it was definitely nice to get a couple of points, a big win and to beat my old team."

So mission accomplished.

But Gulutzan wasn't exactly executing handstands of happiness.

"I didn't like our game,'' he said flatly. "I thought for five minutes in the first period we had a good push and about five minutes in the second.

"I thought they controlled about 15 minutes of those periods pretty handily. Our game got a little better in the third, when we had the lead and they started to press.

"But it wasn't our best game. We've got to find a way to be better at home, starting our games with a push. This is a building, with the altitude and the ice … when opposition teams come in, we've got to take advantage of that.

"Maybe today wasn't a day we deserved points but your goalie is part of your team, and that's what you need him for."

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