Solid Markstrom helps Flames burn Senators 5-1

CALGARY — Elias Lindholm scored the game-winner and added an assist and Jacob Markstrom made 30 saves to lead the Calgary Flames to a 5-1 victory on Sunday night over the Ottawa Senators.

Jonathan Huberdeau and Rasmus Andersson also had a goal and an assist for Calgary (30-24-13) while Noah Hanifin and Trevor Lewis also scored. Mikael Backlund and Nazem Kadri each chipped in a pair of helpers.

The Flames remain six points back of the Winnipeg Jets, who won 3-2 in Tampa Bay, for the second wild-card playoff berth in the NHL's Western Conference.

Tim Stutzle had the lone goal for Ottawa (33-29-4), which has lost three of its first four on a five-game road trip.

The Senators are six points out of the second wild-card spot in the Eastern Conference, which is occupied by the New York Islanders.

Markstrom was excellent in his sixth straight start to improve to 18-18-8.

Kevin Mandolese, in his third career start, finished with 35 stops. He falls to 1-2-0. The 22-year-old is up with the NHL club due to injuries to Cam Talbot and Anton Forsberg.

Down 2-0 after the first period, Ottawa cut the deficit in half at 5:55 of the second capitalizing on a misplay between Markstrom and Backlund.

Going behind the net to play a loose puck, Markstrom passed it out to Backlund, who in attempting to shoot the puck around the back of the net hit Markstrom's pad instead. The puck bounced right to Stutzle who shot it into the vacated net for his team-leading 32nd goal of the season.

It took only 68 seconds for Calgary to restore its two-goal cushion with Kadri firing a rising shot toward the net that Huberdeau deflected out of mid-air and past Mandolese for his 13th goal.

The Flames went ahead 4-1 at 13:08 of the second when Huberdeau and Kadri combined to set up Hanifin jumping up into the rush and he zipped a perfect shot inside the far goalpost.

It was an eventful first period.

Four minutes after Tyler Toffoli's goal that would have made it 1-0 was called back when Ottawa challenged it for being offside, Calgary scored again short-handed and this one counted.

After corralling a cross-ice pass from Lindholm, Backlund showed great poise in waiting for Andersson to join the attack then sent a backhand pass to the defenceman who wired a one-timer under the crossbar at 12:09.

Those same three Swedes combined on the second goal, too, this time on the power play.

At 18:26, Andersson sent a pass to Backlund in the corner and he threaded a pass through the crease to an uncovered Lindholm at the side of the crease who one-timed his 19th goal of the season in the open side.

While Calgary was unlucky to not score more in the first period, hitting the goalpost or crossbar three times in the opening 10 minutes, the Flames were also fortunate to have not been scored on with Markstrom coming up with some clutch saves.

His two best stops came a minute apart with Calgary holding a 1-0 lead at the time. First he denied Julien Gauthier after he dashed in on a breakaway after a Jakob Pelletier turnover.

Next, it was MacKenzie Weegar's errant pass in his own end that was intercepted by Shane Pinto who quickly sent Drake Batherson in alone, but Markstrom kicked out his pad to thwart him.

Ottawa lost left-winger Mathieu Joseph to a lower-body injury in the first period. Going down awkwardly on a play in which Toffoli was penalized for cross-checking, Joseph, in obvious pain, punched the boards immediately after before being helped off the ice.


Lindholm's 19th goal of the season was the 200th of his career with 136 coming as a member of the Flames. He's fourth for most goals by a Swede in franchise history behind Kent Nilsson (229), Hakan Loob (193) and Backlund (180).


The Senators went 0-for-4 with the man advantage and have now gone six games without a power-play goal, going 0-for-20 over that span.


Senators: Wrap up their five-game road in Edmonton on Tuesday.

Flames: Open up a two-game road trip in Arizona on Tuesday.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 12, 2023.

Darren Haynes, The Canadian Press