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Flames Big Guns Show Up In Rout Over Senators

The Calgary Flames enjoyed multi-point nights from both Jonathan Huberdeau and Nazem Kadri, which usually leads to wins. They beat the Ottawa Senators 5-1 on Sunday.



First it was the Calgary Flames’ Swedish Mafia.

Later, it was the new guys. 

Together, it was an example of what the Flames look like when everything is going according to plan. 

We’ve heard the words repeatedly this year. The Calgary Flames need their top players to be their top players might as well be painted above the stalls in the locker-room, or on any reporters’ keyboard shortcuts, at the ready for every disappointing loss. 

On Sunday night, they were, and the Flames rolled the Ottawa Senators 5-1 at the Saddledome to keep pace with the Winnipeg Jets and Nashville Predators, who both won their games to temporarily widen the gap in the Western Conference wildcard race. 

In Calgary, Jonathan Huberdeau and Nazem Kadri — the big guns brought in to bring hope to a franchise that lost Johnny Gaudreau and Matthew Tkachuk in a matter of weeks — both had multi-point nights in the win. 

“When those guys get you a goal or an assist or a point, we have a good record,” Calgary Flames head coach Darryl Sutter told reporters post-game. “When they don’t, we don’t.”  

Sutter was bang on. 

Sportsnet Stats fired out the numbers when those two guys are blanked on the same night — a 3-15-2 record. 

But they weren’t alone on Sunday, with the Swedes getting the Calgary Flames off to a hot start, putting together shorthanded and powerplay goals to give the hosts a 2-0 lead after 20 minutes. 

Elias Lindholm, Mikael Backlund and Rasmus Andersson connected on a pretty passing play while a man short, with Backlund’s dangly no-look pass to the trailing defenceman a thing of beauty. Lindholm got the next one on the powerplay — also on a nifty setup from Backlund. 

The only glitch on the night was a funny exchange between Jacob Markstrom and Backlund, which led to an empty-net goal for Tim Stutzle when the puck bonced right to the front of the net off Markstrom’s pad. 

But the Flames responded quickly with Huberdeau’s 13th of the year (in his first game back on the left wing in a while) on a nice deflection of a high saucer pass from Kadri that bumped up off the Senators defender. Noah Hanifin and Trevor Lewis piled on from there. 

“Kind of got a big lucky with that,” Huberdeau shrugged when talking about his goal. “But I’m glad it looked good.

“This year obviously hasn’t been great. We’ve just got to grind it out to the end. We’re supposed to produce. I think that’s going to help the team if we do. I don’t know the record, but if we get on the scoring sheet and we can get some wins to the end of the year, it’ll be a big push for us.”

Kadri called the game a “building block” after the game. A “step in the right direction.” It may be too little, too late, but they’re building for now and the future with contracts taking them well into the next decade together. 

“I think sometimes, you know, we put a little too much pressure on ourselves,” Kadri said. “You want to be the guys that come through for your team and get on the scoresheet and help the team win. There’s a lot of accountability between us two and us three, specifically, with our line.”