Stajan’s third-period goal leads Flames over Senators 2-1
OTTAWA, Ontario (AP) — David Rittich was one save short of his first career shutout in Buffalo on Wednesday night. He came one penalty shot stop away from one in Ottawa two nights later.
They were both wins — and that’s all that mattered to the Calgary goaltender, who made 29 saves in the Flames’ 2-1 victory over the Senators.
“We got two points, that’s it,” Rittich said. “I can get a shutout next game, in 10 games, 20 games, it doesn’t matter. We got two points and that’s more important right now.”
Sam Bennett and Matt Stajan scored in the victory for the Flames, who have won two in a row after ending a four-game losing streak with a victory in Buffalo on Wednesday night.
“Getting points now is huge and every game is a must-win,” Bennett said. “To pick up five of six (points) on this road trip is huge for us.”
Jean-Gabriel Pageau spoiled Rittich’s bid for his first career shutout by scoring on a penalty shot with 7:05 left in the game.
“It’s a tough situation and (Pageau) made a good move and scored, but I’m just happy we got two points,” said Rittich, who was talking to his posts after the Senators rang three shots off them in the third period.
“I just said I love you,” he joked.
Mike Condon made 35 saves for the Senators, including a breakaway stop on Johnny Gaudreau with the score still 1-0 in Calgary’s favor early in the third period.
Stajan gave the Flames a 2-0 lead at 11:42 of the third when he redirected a pass from Curtis Lazar past Condon.
Shortly after, Pageau was hooked by Dougie Hamilton while on a breakaway and awarded a penalty shot. He beat Rittich, who was making just his 19th career start, through the legs.
The one goal through the first 40 minutes came in the opening period when Bennett took advantage of a number of bodies crashing the crease to give the Flames a 1-0 lead at 4:25 of the first period. Senators coach Guy Boucher challenged the goal, citing goaltender interference, but it took only a few seconds of review before it was deemed a good goal.
“I definitely felt a guy on my back leg when I was trying to sprawl to the right, but I asked the ref afterward and he said our guy pushed him into me,” Condon said. “That’s what happened when there’s a scramble in front and guys are trying to box out and check sticks. People are flying everywhere and our guys are trying to make sure they don’t get to the net and get a free puck. It just happens.”
The biggest save of the first two periods came late in the second when Condon sprawled to make one after TJ Brodie’s shot went wide left before bouncing off the end boards right to Sean Monahan on the right of the goal.
“We definitely got better in the second and much better in the third and got a push,” Boucher said. “I don’t think we did enough in front of their goaltender.”
NOTES: Jim O’Brien and Erik Burgdoerfer were scratches for the Senators, while Chris Stewart, Tanner Glass, Nick Shore and Matt Bartkowski were out for the Flames. ... Gaudreau’s 56 assists are most by a Flames player since Alex Tanguay had 59 in 2006-07. ... Both Stajan and Bennett scored their first NHL goals against the Senators — Stajan in 2003 while with the Leafs and Bennett in 2015 with the Flames.
Flames: vs. New York Islanders on Sunday.
Senators: at Florida on Monday.