Flames shut out Senators 4-0 to snap 3-game skid

NHL

OTTAWA, Ontario (AP)Dan Vladar made 27 saves for his first career shutout as the Calgary Flames snapped a three-game losing streak with a 4-0 win over the Ottawa Senators on Sunday night.

It was the 24-year-old Vladar’s ninth career start.

”From the get-go, we were just the better team,” he said. ”More focused and the guys played great in front of me. I had no rebounds. So, easy game for me.”

As the final buzzer sounded teammates were quick to swarm Vladar as the win also snapped a three-game losing streak.

The Flames, in the midst of a seven-game trip, were led by Elias Lindholm with a goal and an assist, while Andrew Mangiapane, Matthew Tkachuk and Nikita Zadorov also scored. Sean Monahan had two assists.

”I think physically we were really, really engaged,” Flames head coach Darryl Sutter said. ”Those two games in Montreal and Toronto (both losses) are hard games. They take a lot out of your team. Besides the travel, they’re hard games to play. So, this is a really good gut check for our team. They did a really good job.

”Mentally, they’re probably not as sharp as they need to be, but physically they were really good.”

Anton Forsberg, in his first start since Oct. 25, made 29 saves for the Senators.

The Senators could easily make excuses – the team continues to be ravaged by COVID-19. But coach D.J. Smith admitted his men just didn’t play well enough.

”We weren’t our sharpest, especially our top guys and that’s understandable,” said Smith. ”I thought we did have some good efforts, but at the end of the day they just overwhelmed us with their four lines and six D.”

Once again, the coach was forced to juggle his lines at the last minute as Drake Batherson became the 10th Ottawa player to enter the NHL COVID-19 protocol. The Senators made the announcement less than an hour before puck drop, which led to Andrew Agozzino making his season debut.

Batherson joined Austin Watson, Nick Holden, Josh Brown, Connor Brown, Dylan Gambrell, Matt Murray, Victor Mete, Alex Formenton and Nikita Zaitsev, along with associate coach Jack Capuano.

”Every day there’s something unexpected that happens, so of course it kind of wears on you mentally, but we trust in everything that the medical guys have given us,” Brady Tkachuk said.

The Flames made it 4-0 in the opening minutes of the third period as Zadorov beat Forsberg with a quick wrist shot.

Calgary took a 2-0 lead early in the second when Lindholm tipped a Rasmus Andersson point shot, and midway through the period Tkachuk made it 3-0 with a power-play goal as he roofed a shot over Forsberg.

The Flames opened the scoring late in the first as Mangiapane, with his 10th of the season, tipped Monahan’s high slot shot.

NOTES: The Senators expect Shane Pinto to be sidelined for ”the next little bit” as he continues to deal with a shoulder injury. Pinto re-aggravated the injury in Saturday’s game against the Penguins. … Calgary’s Juuso Valimaki, Michael Stone and Walker Duehr were healthy scratches.

UP NEXT

Flames: At Philadelphia on Tuesday.

Senators: At New Jersey on Tuesday.

More AP NHL: https://apnews.com/hub/NHL and https://twitter.com/AP-Sports

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