The Calgary Flames scored late with just 41 seconds remaining in the game to claim a 2-1 victory over the Ottawa Senators on Sunday night at Canadian Tire Centre.
Austin Czarnik was the hero for Calgary. Seconds earlier, it could have been the new arrival Anthony Duclair of the Senators. The difference was that Duclair found the post on his breakaway shot, while Czarnik found the net behind Craig Anderson.
Mikael Backlund also scored for the Flames, while Brady Tkachuk tallied the lone goal for the Senators. The Ottawa rookie’s goal snapped a scoreless streak of 160:55 minutes. Ottawa was previously shut-out in back-to-back games against the New Jersey Devils and Columbus Blue Jackets.
After the win, Calgary improves their record to 39-16-7 and 85 points. They sit first in the Western Conference and second in the NHL. Meanwhile, the Senators drop their fourth straight game. Ottawa’s record falls to 22-35-5 and they remain stuck one point shy from 50.
This game was particularly special for the Tkachuk family. There were over 30 family members on hand to experience the first NHL meeting between Matthew Tkachuk of the Flames and Brady Tkachuk of the Senators. All of them wore custom designed jerseys to show support for the brothers on their respective teams.
Both Tkachuk’s earned a game star after this match. Brady skated away as the game’s second star, while Matthew received the game’s third star. In a touching gesture, Brady gave his grandmother his goal puck.
— Ottawa Senators (@Senators) February 24, 2019
The Tkachuk brothers are quickly becoming integral players for their hockey clubs. In 2018-19, Matthew has 59 points (24G, 35A) in 61 games with the Flames. Since being drafted in the first-round (sixth overall) in 2016, the 21-year-old has accumulated 156 points (61G, 95A) in 205 games. On the other hand, Brady is playing his first season with the Senators after also getting selected in the first-round (fourth overall) last June. In 50 games this season, the 19-year-old has 30 points (13G, 17A).
Ahead of this match, their father, Keith Tkachuk, ensured his sons promised they would not drop the gloves with each other. His primary concern was not to upset their mother. The Tkachuk’s kept their promise throughout this game.
Senators head coach Guy Boucher and Flames head coach Bill Peters both successfully applied their coach’s challenge in this game to overturn a goal each. In both scenarios, a player managed to poke the puck loose from under the goalie’s glove before the referee could blow his whistle and deem the play dead. The target of the challenge for Boucher was ironically Matthew Tkachuk, while the target of the challenge for Peters was Bobby Ryan of the Senators.
This was Duclair’s first game as an Ottawa Senator and he appeared right at home. The newly acquired forward showed flashes of speed, strong skating, and puck control throughout the match. Despite being held pointless in his Senators debut, the native of Pointe-Claire, Quebec had some quality looks. Overall, he managed 15:57 time on ice, including 3:49 on the power play, mustering one shot and two blocks.
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As Ottawa begins it’s plunge into a long-term rebuild, Duclair has a great opportunity to re-establish himself as a NHL scorer with the Senators. The 23-year-old has 108 points (48G, 60A) in 266 games with five different teams.
Ceci, Boedker Sit
Prior to this match-up, the Senators announced that veterans Cody Ceci and Mikkel Boedker would be healthy scratches. The decision had nothing to do with the performance of these two players, and everything to do with Monday’s Trade Deadline. Until this game, Ceci and Boedker had been dressing and playing for the team, even after the Senators opted to bench Mark Stone, Matt Duchene, and Ryan Dzingel earlier this week to preserve their health. Duchene and Dzingel have since been dealt to the Columbus Blue Jackets in two separate trades. A summary of each trade can be read here and here.
The decision to sit players sends a strong message to general managers across the league. It also marks the first time the Senators have blatantly revealed to the public that these two players are available as trade assets in the market.
Waiting on Stone
Despite the names of Ceci and Boedker jumping up the list of trade bait, all attention in Ottawa remains focused on the future of assistant captain Mark Stone. The 26-year-old was scratched for a third straight game on Sunday. Since Friday, he has also watched his team trade two of their top three offensive forwards. There is heavy speculation that Stone will be dealt prior to the 3pm EST deadline. However, hope remains from the fan base that Senators general manager Pierre Dorion will be able to work magic and re-sign the veteran leader to an extension.
Official 3 Stars of the Game
- Austin Czarnik, Calgary
- Brady Tkachuk, Ottawa
- Matthew Tkachuk, Calgary
The Senators travel to Washington to take on the Capitals on Tuesday night. Depending on what moves the Senators make on Monday in advance of the trade deadline, the roster could look very different by then. The defending Stanley Cup Champions are fifth in the Eastern Conference and eight in the NHL with a record of 35-21-7 and 77 points. The Caps are 2-0-0 against the Sens this year.
Cover Photo Credit: Sean Kilpatrick / The Canadian Press
Billy Morrison covers the Ottawa Senators and the Atlantic Division for Full Press Coverage. Follow Billy on Twitter, @BillyMorrison01.