OTTAWA (AP) Marcus Hogberg isn’t sure he belongs in the NHL. He might be the only one with that thought.
Hogberg was at his finest Saturday, making 40 saves to lead the Ottawa Senators to a 5-2 win over the Calgary Flames.
The Senators (17-23-8) were outshot 42-21 and, if not for Hogberg’s performance, the result could very well have been different for a team that was winless in nine games. It marked the 25-year-old’s second NHL win in 13 career starts.
“He’s got points in four straight (games),” said Senators coach D.J. Smith. “He gave us every chance to win those other three games and he was really good again. It’s good for our team and our organization to have a young guy that’s playing at this level.”
Brady Tkachuk, Chris Tierney, Connor Brown, Colin White and Vladislav Namestnikov had the Ottawa goals.
Mark Jankowski snapped Hogberg’s shutout bid with just under six minutes remaining with his first of the season and Noah Hanifin scored with just over two minutes left.
Hogberg has a 1-2-5 record this season, but his record is hardly indicative of his play. He has seen substantial playing time as Anders Nilsson remains sidelined with a concussion. The Senators have played the 25-year-old instead of veteran Craig Anderson, who could be moved at the trade deadline.
“I just try to work hard and show my best for the guys and the coaches, and we will see what happens,” Hogberg said.
The victory comes at a good time as the Senators are headed into an eight-day break.
“We’ve played for stretches the way we want to play, but tonight without Hogberg we’re not winning that game, it’s that simple, he was excellent,” Dylan DeMelo said. “We got some timely goals, the power play scored, which was huge for us, and it kind of seemed like we didn’t have many shots, but when we did they went in.”
Calgary (26-19-5) saw its six-game winning streak come to an end heading into a nine-day break for the All-Star Game.
“If we get this one ... we go into the break feeling really good about ourselves and try to gather some momentum for the last 32 games," Matthew Tkachuk said. "But this didn’t allow us to feel that way."
David Rittich turned aside 16 of 20 shots for Calgary.
Despite outshooting the Senators by a wide margin, the Flames felt they made far too many mistakes that cost them in the end.
“We had a few breakdowns and they took advantage of it,” said Flames coach Geoff Ward. “At the end of the day it’s not enough when you need to catch up.”
White gave Ottawa a 4-0 lead, scoring on a Mikkel Boedker rebound early in the third and Namestnikov added an empty-net goal.
With nearly 40 family members on hand for the fourth installment of the clash between the Tkachuk brothers, it was Brady who finally prevailed, also picking up an assist. It marked the first time he was on the winning side.
The game started with referee Wes McCauley throwing out Artem Anisimov and Elias Lindholm out of the faceoff circle to allow the brothers to take the opening draw.
“We got that out of the way last year and we had talked about it,” Matthew Tkachuk said. “This year we didn’t talk about it and weren’t going to do it. Wes was great. He said, ‘If I’m reffing, you guys have got to do the opening draw - your mom will love it.’ "
Brady admitted getting the win was a little more special considering who it was against, but in the end the two points were the most important.
“It’s two teams who need those points and definitely happy we got those two points,” he said. “It was all because of (Hogberg). He stood in there and had a phenomenal performance. Wish we could have lessened the load in the first period, but it showed everybody how good of a goalie he is.”
The Senators took a 2-0 lead in the second as Tierney picked up a loose puck in front and backhanded it past Rittich. Brown then scored on a power play as he dug at a puck under Rittich and was able to push it over the goal line.
Hogberg made a huge stick save on Sam Bennett midway through the second to keep the Flames off the board.
Brady Tkachuk scored his 15th of the season when he looked to pass to Anthony Duclair but instead saw the puck deflect off Travis Harmonic’s stick and into the net at 7:15 of the first.
Notes: The Senators were outshot 15-3 in the first period and still led 1-0. ... Jean-Gabriel Pageau missed his second straight game with a sore neck... Rudolfs Balcers was a healthy scratch.
Flames: Off until they visit Edmonton on Jan. 29.
Senators: Off until they visit Buffalo on Jan. 28.
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