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Sens goalie Marcus Hogberg stands tall, turning aside of 40 of the Flames' 42 shots in a 5-2 win for Ottawa

by RYAN DITTRICK @ryandittrick /

It was one of those days.

The Flames, to their credit, did a lot things right - but nothing seemed to go that way.

They had the volume, the quality and the stellar, net-front habits that will drive a goalie mad.

It wasn't even close.

The precision, though, was way off the mark, and sometimes, you can't help but tip your cap to the 'tender.

Today, it was the unheralded Marcus Hogberg setting the blockade, turning what should have been a laugher into a shutout win for the homeside.


Video: Brendan Parker recaps a 5-2 loss to the Senators


In all, he stopped 40 of 42 shots and the Flames - who entered the day winning six of their last seven - were unable to mount a comeback after surrendering back-to-back strikes late in the second.

The back-breakers.

With one goal in the first, two in the second, and two more in the third, the Ottawa Senators built a big lead and then cruised to a 5-2 victory, dropping the Flames' record to 26-19-5 on the year.

The win snapped a nine-game skid for the Sens, who are 14 points out of a playoff spot.

Mark Jankowski broke the shutout bid with 5:51 to play, scoring his first of the year - and first in 287 days - with a nifty backhand from the slot.

Talk about getting the monkey off your back before a long break.

David Rittich stopped 16 of the 20 he faced.

The Sens opened the scoring at 7:15 when Matthew's little brother, Brady, got a fortuitous bounce off the rush. Capitalizing on a Flames turnover and creating an odd-man rush, Tkachuk sauced a pass into the middle that was inadvertently tipped in by Travis Hamonic, who broke up the play (a little too well) with his long reach on the backcheck.  

The goal was Brady's 15th of the year, putting him into a tie with his bro on the NHL leaderboard.

The Flames were all over the Sens with a 25-3 (twenty-five to three!) edge in shot attempts, all four of the game's Grade-A scoring chances, and a shot clock that read 15-2, all by the 15-minute mark of the stanza.

Sean Monahan had the best look of them all, winding up from between the hash marks while Mikael Backlund took away the eyes of the goaltender, but the star centre's blocker-side try got a piece of the goalie's elbow and cruelly trickled to safety.

Marcus Hogberg - who entered the night with only a single victory in 10 appearances this year - was dialled in early.

Still, in spite of the onslaught, the visitors got a break late in the period that kept them in a 1-0 game. Off a clean faceoff win in the Calgary end of the rink, Ottawa D man Mike Reilly unloaded with a shot through traffic that rung off the near post.

That aside, it was one of the most dominant periods you'll ever see, with Matthew Tkachuk finishing with five shots all by his lonesome - three more than all 18 Ottawa skaters, combined.

The shot attempts read 32-6 in Calgary's favour when the buzzer sounded.


Video: CGY Recap: Jankowski, Hanifin score in loss


It was more of the same of the front half of the second, but the Sens - who had only five shots by the midway point of the game - opened up a two-goal lead on one of their only offensive possessions of the frame.

Connor Brown won a battle behind the net, brought it out front and tossed a backhand pass into traffic. The puck went off the body of Vladislav Namestnikov at the edge of the blue paint and landed right on the stick of Chris Tierney on the opposite side. Tierney made no mistake, shovelling it home on the backhand despite Rittich's best efforts to keep it out.

Tierney put a shot off the post only moments later, and suddenly, the Sens had all the momentum.

A powerplay goal with 3:07 to play in the period put the Sens up by three. Tkachuk was taken hard to the ice by Hamonic, but stuck with a centering pass and squeezed it between the pads. Brown, circling the net, saw it sitting on the goal line, and he finished it off with a quick tap to score his 10th of the year.

Jankowski's first of the year pulled the Flames a bit closer late in the third, but Namestnikov buried his 10th of the year into the empty net with 3:14 left to restore the four-goal lead.


Video: CGY@OTT: Jankowski buries backhanded shot


Noah Hanifin made it a 5-2 game with a great shot with under two minutes left, but by then, the result was already well in hand.


Tweet from @ryandittrick: #Flames numbers from a 5-2 loss in Ottawa.CF: 72.92% (70-26)SCF: 70.18% (40-17)HDCF: 54.55% (12-10) xGF/xGA: 3.29 - 1.39Hard to complain about that. You always want MORE from the inside, but look - sometimes you have to tip your cap to the goalie. Hogberg was excellent.




"We got it out of the way last year. We weren't even going to do it. We talked about doing it last year, and this year we didn't even know we were going to do it - like, we didn't talk about it. Wes (veteran referee McCauley) was great. He said, 'If I'm reffing, you guys have got to do the opening draw and your mom will love it.' (Brady) snapped that one back on me pretty good he seemed to destroy the rest of our team tonight, too."


"Felt good to get that monkey off my back. I wish it would have come in a win - that's obviously the most important thing."


Video: "Felt good to get that monkey off my back"



"You out-shoot a team 15-3 in the first - and not only do we out-shoot them, but we had some quality looks and could have put one in. We came in here in a good spot, still. We were down, but felt like we had a lot of chances. We had our legs going and I think in the second period, once we got down two and then three, then you really start chasing the game. That's the only time that they got chances off of us, was when we were pressing and trying to score. Obviously being down, you're going to take chances, and that's when they started generating more and more. That's the game, that's the season. Some nights, you deserve to be down but you're up and you win them. Then, a night like tonight, I felt like a night like tonight, you deserve better. This trip, we were really having trouble scoring goals, obviously. That's the only positive coming out of it, is it's nice to see (Jankowski) get his first of the year and hopefully that'll get him going."


Video: Giordano breaks down the loss to the Sens



"It's a good time for a break. If we went back here - two months ago - and said that at this break, we'd be in this position, we'd probably take it, right? As a team, we'll move forward. We're in a spot right now and we want to come out of the gate with lots of emotion and energy, and I'm sure we will. It will be a good time to refresh and get ready for those ones."


"Two of 'em were bad breaks. The first one, we put it in our own net. The fifth one, the puck bounces on Gio at the blueline. But the thing we've got to take away from the game is that when the puck's not going in for you, and you've got some o-zone time and you've got some looks, you still have to pay attention to what you're doing away from the puck. I thought a few of the goals tonight were the result of breakdowns in our end of the ice - not paying enough attention to the defensive details."


Video: Coach Ward speaks following loss to Ottawa



The Flames opened the season with a 5-9-2 record away from the Scotiabank Saddledome, but ever since Geoff Ward took over as head coach on Nov. 27, nobody's been better in visiting barns. The Flames entered the day with eight wins in their last 10 road dates, and had allowed the fewest number of goals in that span, too, fishing a paltry 21 pucks (or an average 2.1 per game) out of their own net. … Today was the fourth-career meeting between Matthew and Brady Tkachuk. Matthew - the sixth-overall pick, behind Auston Matthews, Patrik Laine, Pierre-Luc Dubois, Jesse Puljujarvi and Olli Juolevi - leads the 2016 draft class in assists (126) and hits (344), is second in games played (272), third in goals (86), and third in points (212). Tkachuk also leads the NHL in penalties drawn with 147 since the start of the 2016-17 season.


Video: Chantal and Keith Tkachuk at the Chucky Bowl



Here are the forward lines, D pairings and goalie to start the game:


Matthew Tkachuk - Elias Lindholm - Andrew Mangiapane
Johnny Gaudreau - Sean Monahan - Mikael Backlund
Milan Lucic - Derek Ryan - Dillon Dube
Sam Bennett - Mark Jankowski - Tobias Rieder


Mark Giordano - TJ Brodie
Noah Hanifin - Travis Hamonic
Oliver Kylington - Rasmus Andersson


David Rittich

Scratched: Zac Rinaldo, Michael Stone



The Flames are off for the next nine days for the CBA-mandated 'bye week,' followed by the NHL All-Star festivities next weekend. The club returns home to the Scotiabank Saddledome on Tuesday, Jan. 28, as they host the defending Stanley Cup champion St. Louis Blues (click here for tickets), before travelling to Edmonton the very next night for Round 3 of the Battle of the Alberta.

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