The Calgary Flames’ anticipated return to home ice, thanks to four egregious individual errors, didn’t go as planned, with the Sens picking up a 4-1 win.
Numerous missed high-quality chances, and woeful, careless giveaways, cost the Flames dearly in their 4-1 loss to the Ottawa Senators. We all know how crucial the opening goal is, even when taking the Flames middling .650 winning percentage (13-4) after banging in the first into consideration.
Matthew Murray, who hadn’t earned a win in seven previous games, stymied the Flames in the first 10 minutes, reminiscent of his 2016 Cup-winning season with the Pens. Important, top-notch saves on Johnny Gaudreau, Brett Ritchie, Elias Lindholm, Sean Monahan and Blake Coleman prevented Calgary from getting the all-important opener.
Murray gained confidence from a sensational first period and shut the door thereafter, frustrating a snakebitten Flames offence, who’ve scored just seven goals in the last four.
And then came the Flames’ mental lapses.
Catastrophic giveaways by Ritchie, Mikael Backlund and Noah Hanifin, who blew a tire to compound matters on the back of coughing it up, put the home side in a deep hole going into the third.
Matthew Tkachuk, who deflected deftly Christopher Tanev’s shot from the point, provided Calgary with a lifeline. It was Tkachuk’s 16th of the season and his seventh point in four games. Unfortunately another needless blunder, this time by a pinching Rasmus Andersson, led to Ottawa’s fourth, restoring their three-goal advantage.
The Flames have lost four in a row by a combined score of 20-7, so expect the inquest to commence. Yet another game without secondary scoring was compounded by four careless individual errors.
Sutter will be seething by the way his side handed the game to the lowly Sens, who picked up their first win in four games.
Calgary, with the Vegas game being postponed, has five days until their next scheduled outing, against the Panthers on Tuesday night. It’s a long time to ruminate on yet another disappointing performance.