After one of their biggest victories of the season, the Calgary Flames look to keep their scoring touch going when they visit the Ottawa Senators on Monday.
The Flames trailed 2-0 after the first period of Saturday’s game with the Buffalo Sabres, then quickly took the lead with three goals in the opening 4:04 of the second frame. Calgary went on to score four more unanswered tallies in a 7-2 win that matched its highest goal total of the season.
Outshooting Buffalo by a 40-23 margin, the Flames displayed the kind of scoring efficiency that has eluded the team for much of the season. Calgary ranks near the NHL lead in shots (1,451), yet is near the bottom of the league in shooting percentage (8.9 percent).
“It’s still a bit of a relief to be able to score goals back-to-back in a short period of time,” Flames coach Darryl Sutter said. “We’ve had a hard time doing that. … It’s not about the number of goals you score, but when you can do it. You score two or three quick ones, that makes a big difference in the game.”
Jacob Markstrom stopped 21 of 23 shots, ending a personal 0-3-2 winless drought for the goaltender. The Flames have been largely altering Markstrom and Dan Vladar over the last month, so it isn’t clear if Markstrom will get another start Monday.
The win ended a two-game (0-1-1) winless drought for the Flames and improved their record to 2-1-1 in the first four games of its five-game road trip. Ottawa is the final stop on a trip that bridged the NHL All-Star break.
The Senators entered the break on a four-game winning streak, but their return to the ice Saturday resulted in a 6-3 home loss to the Edmonton Oilers. With the game tied at the second intermission, Ottawa allowed three unanswered goals during the third period.
Beyond the scoreboard, the larger concern was an injury to Anton Forsberg, who had to be stretchered off the ice late in the third period. Edmonton’s Zach Hyman was shoved onto Forsberg’s lower body during a scramble in front of the net, leaving the Ottawa goalie in obvious pain.
Senators general manager Pierre Dorion said Sunday that Forsberg suffered MCL injuries in both knees, and will be out indefinitely.
Mads Sogaard played the final 5:23 of the game in relief of Forsberg. It was Sogaard’s first NHL game of the season and only the third of his career, yet the 22-year-old might now be the Senators’ top option in net for the foreseeable future. Goalie Cam Talbot is also on injured reserve, and hasn’t played since suffering his own in-game lower-body injury on Jan. 25.
Ottawa coach D.J. Smith admitted that Sogaard is “in a tough spot here. But you know what, sometimes you get forced into these things and you find out in a hurry. He’s a good goalie, so he’s going to get his opportunity if clearly (Forsberg) can’t go.”
Defenseman Jake Sanderson also left Saturday’s game early and will miss the next 10-14 days with an upper-body injury.
Ottawa’s Claude Giroux has 10 points (six goals, four assists) during a six-game points streak. The 35-year-old has goals in five consecutive games, matching the longest streak of his 16-year NHL career.
–Field Level Media