OTTAWA – With the NHL trade deadline less than 24 hours away, Ottawa Senators general manager Bryan Murray may want to strongly consider making a move for some goaltending.
David Moss scored his first career hat trick, Jarome Iginla added two goals and suspect goaltending let the Senators down as the Calgary Flames defeated Ottawa 6-3 Tuesday night.
Senators goaltender Alex Auld let in some soft goals before leaving the game due to sickness. Coach Cory Clouston said he was unaware of any illness until after the second period.
“This morning he was fine,” said Clouston. “No one said anything until the second intermission and then we were told he was sick.”
Sickly is the way the Senator’s goaltending has been of late and unless Murray makes a move on Wednesday nothing is likely to change before the off-season.
One of the Senators’ few highlights of the night came as Jason Spezza took on Calgary’s Dion Phaneuf after the defenceman caught Dany Heatley with a big check.
Spezza never even thought twice about taking on the tough defenceman, which earned him high praise from both his coaches and teammates.
“What I liked was he jumped in for his teammate,” said Clouston. “He showed he wants to be a team guy and that goes a long way in the dressing room and it shows he’s willing to try and work on his game and work on his overall persona.”
Spezza picked up 17 minutes in penalty time and was missed, but everyone believed he did the right thing.
“I thought it was a great job by Spezza,” said Senators captain Daniel Alfredsson. “We don’t want him in the box, but he showed a lot of character.”
While Spezza is hardly known for his physical style of play Phaneuf shrugged off the novelty of the situation.
“Hits are still part of the game and fights are still part of the game so you guys will make a big deal of it, but it’s still part of the game,” said Phaneuf. “He’s a big guy and he’s going to stick up for his teammates and that’s what he did.”
The Flames considered the win a much worthier topic.
“With such a long road trip it’s nice to get off to a good start and not two losses in a row,” Iginla said. “It’s great to see the young guys come up and play so well. It’s a huge boost for our team.”
The Flames (38-19-6) were led by Moss and Warren Peters, who scored his first NHL goal.
Filip Kuba, Mike Fisher and Nick Foligno scored for the Senators (23-29-10) and Auld stopped 15 shots before being replaced by Brian Elliott, who faced seven shots.
The Flames looked solid from the start as Iginla opened the scoring in the second minute of play. The Flames captain made a great move to get Auld moving and found the open hole.
Ottawa managed to tie the game minutes later as Heatley made a great pass to Kuba who came down the wing to beat Flames goalie Miikka Kiprusoff shortside.
“I didn’t have my best game,” said Kiprusoff. “It’s a nice feeling for a goalie when you still come out with the lead after the first even though you know you should have stopped those shots.”
The Senators took the lead midway through the period as Chris Phillips fired a shot from the point that got through traffic and saw Fisher tip it so it just caught the inside of the far post.
The lead was short-lived as Peters scored to the surprise of Auld. The Senators goalie didn’t even know the puck was in the net until he saw the Flames celebrating.
“Peters’ goal was a big boost,” said Iginla. “They started having some momentum and they were starting to come and for us to get that goal back was a big goal.”
Iginla made it 3-2 with less than five minutes remaining in the period.
Calgary, winners of four of its last five, took control of the game as Moss beat Auld with a slap shot that should have been stopped. The Flames managed just two shots in the second period.
Elliott started the third due to Auld not feeling well, but even he didn’t look great despite allowing just one goal on eight shots.
“We did a good job of coming back,” said Alfredsson. “But we gave up goals way too easy. We tried to come back in the second, but we struggled with some penalties.”
On the ensuing power play following the Spezza incident Moss made it 5-2 as he caught Elliott looking the other way and had a wide open net for his 18th of the season.
Foligno made it 5-3 with a power play goal as he tipped Brendan Bell’s shot from just inside the blue-line with five minutes remaining.
Moss scored an empty net goal to complete his hat trick.
Notes: The Senators were without RW Chris Neil (lacerated calf, indefinite), D Alexandre Picard (groin, day-to-day), C Cody Bass (shoulder surgery, indefinite), was a healthy scratch, Ottawa placed G Martin Gerber on re-entry waivers and D Brendan Bell on waiversThe Flames were without RW Todd Bertuzzi (lower body),