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Flames shut down Ovechkin, beat Capitals

by Aaron Vickers /

CALGARY -- After struggling on the road, the Calgary Flames just needed a little home cooking.

Mike Cammalleri scored two goals and goaltender Karri Ramo made 27 saves as the Flames beat the Washington Capitals 5-2 at Scotiabank Saddledome on Saturday night. The Flames, who went 1-4-0 on a five-game, 10-day road trip through the Western Conference, remain unbeaten on home ice in regulation this season (3-0-1) and snapped a two-game slide in the process.

"I think we end up with two losses and that didn't feel good for anybody but at the same time, you regroup," Cammalleri said. "You're excited to come home, excited to play in front of our fans and know that if we can put some wins together we're right back where we want to be."

Jiri Hudler and Kris Russell, with his first as a member of the Flames, also scored for Calgary. Jason Chimera and Aaron Volpatti replied for Washington, which saw its three-game winning streak snapped.

The Flames also shut down Alex Ovechkin, who entered the night with 10 goals in Washington's first 10 games. Ovechkin attempted 15 shots; Ramo stopped five, six were blocked and four missed the net.

"We had good chances to score goals but it wasn't good enough for our line and the capability of what we can do," Ovechkin said.

Despite losing two of its three leading scorers in Lee Stempniak and Mark Giordano to lower-body injuries on the road, Calgary wasted little time getting offensive in the first period and chasing starter Braden Holtby for the second time this season.

After a minute-long shift spent in the Washington zone, Russell sent a snap shot through a crowd in front of Holtby, beating him over the glove 1:04 into the game.

"It's always nice to score," Russell said.

Calgary continued to pour on the pressure. Sven Baertschi split John Erskine and Steve Oleksy on a partial break, testing Holtby again and drawing a penalty. Holtby was again challenged, robbing David Jones with his glove on the ensuing power play.

On his next shift, Baertschi again crossed into the Capitals zone and, after temporarily losing the puck, found Sean Monahan in the slot. Monahan's shot hit Hudler in front, and the Flames' leading scorer tucked the puck around Holtby at 7:24 to extend Calgary's lead to 2-0.

The Capitals got one back at 12:02 after Mikhail Grabovski found Chimera behind the defense. Chimera deked to the backhand and lifted the puck over Ramo to cut the margin to 2-1.

But the Flames responded 48 seconds later when Cammalleri deflected a Dennis Wideman point shot behind Holtby, chasing the goaltender after 12:50 and three goals on 14 shots in favor of Michal Neuvirth.

"Looking for a spark," coach Adam Oates said. "Three goals. We started lousy. We got one to make it 2-1 and then the third one. We were just looking for something."

Holtby also got the hook after surrendering three goals on 11 shots in Washington's home opener against Calgary on Oct. 3.

"That's Adam's call, it's what I respect," Holtby said of being lifted. "I'd like to finish every game that I play but at the same time, we haven't been addressing our starts as a group because we've been masking them with winning a few games."

Washington managed to trim the deficit to one in the second period. After Flames forward TJ Galiardi failed to clear the puck past Mike Green at the point, the Capitals defenseman fed partner Nate Schmidt, whose initial shot was stopped by Ramo. But Volpatti slid the rebound into the net at 7:45 to make it a one-goal game.

But when the Capitals pressed in the third, Ramo closed the door.

First, he stacked the pads on Troy Brouwer four minutes into the period after the puck ricocheted off the Washington forward. Four minutes later, Ramo stopped the deflection of a point shot by defenseman Karl Alzner. Baertschi spotted the rebound and cleared it out of the crease before Washington could capitalize.

Unlike Calgary's first game of the season in Washington when they gave up leads of 3-0 and 4-1, the Flames were able to close out the Capitals on home ice.

Cammalleri gave the Flames some insurance at 10:17 with his second of the night. He was on the goal line and threw the puck on net; it squeaked through Neuvirth's pads to make it 4-2.

"[Joe Colborne] did a great job on the faceoff and I was going to try and get the puck to the net for those guys to bang it in," Cammalleri said. "They were both driving the net. It makes it dangerous for the goalie. He's worried about big [Colborne] coming to the net and [Galiardi]'s speed coming to the net and the puck ends up finding its way in."

Glencross closed the scoring at 14:28 when he took a feed from Matt Stajan in the high slot and blew the puck by Neuvirth for his first goal in seven games.

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