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In the Habs Room: He shoots … he scores! – Montreal Gazette

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“Again, when he shoots the puck … we saw last year he’s capable of scoring goals,” Claude Julien says after Max Domi scores winner in OT.

CALGARY — It was Wayne Gretzky who once said: “You miss 100 per cent of the shots you don’t take.”

The Great One knew a thing or two about scoring goals with an NHL record 894 during his Hall of Fame career.

The Canadiens fired 43 shots at Calgary goaltender David Rittich, including the overtime winner by Max Domi, in a 4-3 victory over the Flames Thursday night at the Scotiabank Saddledome. For Domi, it was his first goal in 12 games and only his seventh of the season. Brendan Gallagher, Joel Armia and Nick Suzuki scored for the Canadiens in regulation time.

“Again, when he shoots the puck … we saw last year he’s capable of scoring goals,” coach Claude Julien said about Domi, who scored a career-high 28 last season. “But you know, he’s gotten better, I think, on this trip. He’s played two pretty good games so far, so I think he’s finding his groove again.”

Domi had two assists in Tuesday night’s 3-1 win over the Canucks in Vancouver and now has 1-4-5 totals in the last four games.

In overtime against the Flames, Domi cruised over the blue line, wound up and took a slapshot on what looked like an innocent play that was basically a one-on-two. But the puck went in.

What was that Gretzky said again?

“I was absolutely out of gas, to be honest,” Domi said after the game. “The shift before that we were dancing around pretty good and didn’t score. They had a chance, Pricey (Carey Price) made a save and he just kind of kicked it out to me and I went down. I know Gio (Flames defenceman Mark Giordano) a little bit from back home. I know how good he is. I’m a big fan of him. He’s one of the best defenders in the entire league. So I knew I wasn’t going to beat him at the end of a shift like that. I just figured I’d shoot it through him and got lucky with the shot.”

You miss 100 per cent of the shots you don’t take.

Apart from Gretzky, nobody knows that better than Gallagher, who scored his team-leading 15th goal of the season on a shot that never should have gone in from an impossible angle against the boards on the goal line to Rittich’s right.

“I think Gally scores a bunch of those,” Price said. “Just getting pucks on net. Gretzky said it. We’re finding ways to score in that sense. We put up 40-some shots tonight and we were able to get four. It seems like a good recipe.”

Indeed.

Armia’s goal was his 12th of the season, one short of the career high he set last season. It came on a quick shot from the top of the slot that beat Rittich on the short side.

“It was a quick release,” Julien said. “When you look at Army’s goal you can say whatever you want. I think he caught the goaltender by surprise because that release was so quick and he’s got a great shot. But no doubt, if you got people in front of the net you throw pucks at the net and every team does it. From bad angles, it hits people, it trickles through, whatever. A shot on net is never a bad play.”

That’s what happened on Suzuki’s goal that tied the score 3-3 at 11:58 of the third period. Nick Cousins threw the puck at the net from a bad angle and Suzuki tipped it in for his first goal in 13 games. It was one of a team-leading six shots for Suzuki.

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“He was involved in a lot of different areas on the ice and that’s what we’ve talked about,” Julien said about the 20-year-old rookie. “I don’t just want to see him make great plays on the power play, which he did again tonight. But five-on-five, he’s very capable of creating a lot of stuff for himself and for others. I thought he did a great job of that tonight and one of his better games no doubt. I like the direction he’s going.”

The Canadiens’ top defence pairing of Shea Weber and Ben Chiarot had a huge night. Chiarot logged a team-leading 26:00 of ice time, picked up an assist and was plus-4, while Weber played 24:38, had an assist and was plus-2. Weber now has a five-game point streak and has 11-18-29 totals for the season, one point behind Tomas Tatar (13-17-30) for the team lead. Weber is a team-best plus-13, while Chiarot is plus-12.

Domi was asked if he felt a sense of relief after finally ending his long goal drought.

“No, not at all,” he said. “That’s just part of the game. Sometimes they go in, sometimes they don’t. Winning hockey games, that’s all that matters.”

It’s easier to do that when you shoot the puck.

Just ask The Great One.

scowan@postmedia.com

twitter.com/StuCowan1

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The Flames' warmup was a complete trainwreck – Yahoo Canada Sports

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Milan Lucic’s face says it all.

There’s warmup, warmies, warm-ups, and whatever the hell this is.

It’s been anything but smooth sailing the past couple weeks for the free-falling Flames, and it looks like we’ve officially reached the almost-comical stage of Calgary’s struggles as evident by the team’s absolutely ridiculous performance in their pre-game twirl on Monday.

Hoping to avoid getting pounded by the lowly Ottawa Senators for the second time in three games — which, spoiler, didn’t happen — the Flames hit the ice in body but never really in mind, as an absurd and unfortunate sequence of brain farts, errors and bad luck soiled the team’s warmup and set the tone for another embarrassing L.

First, we have defenceman Juuso Valimaki and goaltender David Rittich just unnecessarily bumping into each other and carrying on with their respective days. Then, the camera ever-so-subtly spots Milan Lucic taking a seat in the corner after catching a rut and bailing head-first into the boards.

Rasmus Andersson and Nikita Nesterov then brainlessly collided in the neutral zone, with both hitting the deck and landing in a pile of mildly scattered pucks, before a scary incident capped a nightmarish 12-minute stretch for Calgary with Johnny Gaudreau launching a careless backhander straight into the face of bucketless linemate Sean Monahan, who was shaken up and had to leave the ice.

The complete circus predictably carried over into the game as the Flames laid an egg straight from the get-go, losing 5-1 while producing a plethora of defensive blunders and getting chewed up in battles all over the ice.

The Flames, who have dropped six of their last eight contests, including a pair of brutal losses to the Sens and a 7-1 L to the Oilers, need to figure it out pretty, pretty soon.

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Hutchinson's performance, defensive effort lead Maple Leafs to another shutout vs. Oilers – Toronto Sun

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Morgan Rielly figuratively grabbed the mic late on Monday night.

“I just want to open it up with comments about our goalies,” the Maple Leafs defenceman said, before taking questions from media, after Toronto beat the Edmonton Oilers 3-0 at Rogers Place. “The last two (games) they have been outstanding. I don’t think they get enough credit.

“Soup and Hutchy have been outstanding for us all year, and two games in a row against a good team has been a huge boost.”

Who would argue?

Michael Hutchinson made 31 saves for his sixth shutout in the National Hockey League, two nights after Jack Campbell stopped all 30 Oilers shots in a 4-0 Leafs win.

The Leafs blanked the same team in back-to-back games for the 10th time in franchise history (including playoffs) and for the first time in the regular season since November 1954, when they shut out Detroit in consecutive games.

The two victories marked the first time since Jan. 31-Feb. 1, 2018, that the Leafs registered back-to-back shutouts.

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This time around, it was all the more impressive considering it came against Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl, the top two scorers in the NHL.

“We’re getting to the point where we’re proving that we’re a team that can defend well, and I think that’s a big part of our success as a team,” Leafs coach Sheldon Keefe said.

“Given the injuries and the adversity we’ve faced, especially in these two games, it really calls upon the team to step up and and play a good team game and, in particular, defend.”

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The Leafs (17-4-2, 36 points) opened a six-point lead on the second-place Florida Panthers for first overall in the NHL and an eight-point lead on the Oilers for first in the North Division.

The Leafs again stuffed the Oilers without Auston Matthews, who missed his second game in a row with a wrist/hand injury, and without No. 1 goalie Frederik Andersen for a fourth consecutive game with a lower-body issue.

Both remain day-to-day, but it’s not clear whether either will play on Wednesday night when the Leafs and Oilers finish their three-game set.

“We’re just waiting for the strength to come back,” Keefe said of Matthews. “It is a little bit of a different situation he’s dealing with than what it was previously for him. That was just a nagging thing, this is a little bit of a different situation. But he is progressing.”

Campbell on Saturday aggravated the lower body injury that had kept him out since Jan. 24.

“You go through your practice sessions and he was feeling really good, but game conditions are a whole different beast and it didn’t respond,” Keefe said. “We’re taking it a day at a time.”

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Hutchinson improved to 3-1 with a .943 save percentage. Combined, Hutchinson and Campbell are 6-1-0.

The Leafs figured the Oilers were going to have some initial fire after getting nothing on Saturday night, and they were right.

Hutchinson made a point-blank save on Dominik Kahun and then denied a streaking McDavid, who blew past Justin Holl with ease, before the Leafs had registered a shot on Oilers starter Mikko Koskinen.

McDavid led the Oilers with six shots on goal but was held without a point in consecutive games for the first time since Dec. 18-20, 2019.

“It’s nice to feel the puck early on,” Hutchinson said. “When McDavid came flying down on that one in the first period, it was a good wakeup call for me, seeing how fast he is right off the hop, and trying to be prepared for that for the rest of the game.

“We came on strong in the first period. In the second half of it, and we really controlled the play. We were able to score some key goals and go from there.”

The Leafs scored on their first two shots on Koskinen, as Zach Hyman scored on a backhand at 7:19 and William Nylander did the same at 10:20. Rielly, who assisted on Hyman’s goal, scored on a power play at 18:07 of the first when his point shot went off Oilers defenceman Darnell Nurse.

Mike Smith replaced Koskinen to start the second, but the change didn’t have an impact on the home team.

Rielly’s two points gave him 17 in his past 17 games.

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Toronto was strong on the penalty-kill, going 4-for-4. The Leafs might not have been as air-tight as they were in their win on Saturday, but Hutchinson was sharp when required.

“To have these two results through the first two games of this trip is a positive sign for us,” Keefe said. “I didn’t like our game as much as I did the other night, yet our guys played hard. We defended our net very well.

“It felt like one of those nights, just the way (Hutchinson) was moving in the net, the saves he was making, it gave me the confidence that they were going to have to do a lot to score one. He was terrific. It was fun to watch him.”

tkoshan@postmedia.com

twitter.com/koshtorontosun

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Batherson scores two more as Senators beat Flames – TSN

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OTTAWA — Drake Batherson scored a pair of goals for the Ottawa Senators in a 5-1 win Monday over the visiting Calgary Flames.

With seven goals in his last six games, the 22-year-old Batherson matched the franchise record held by Jason Spezza for the longest goal streak.

“I don’t know. Everything I’m just shooting is going in,” Batherson said. “Boys are making some great plays for me. The second one was lucky tonight.”

Colin White, with an empty-net goal, Artem Anisimov and Evgenii Dadanov also scored for the Senators (8-15-1). Tim Stutzle had two assists in Ottawa’s fourth win in its last five games.

Matt Murray, who was pulled in Saturday’s 6-3 loss to the Flames, stopped 27-of-28 shots for the win including all 22 he faced in the first and third period.

“He was dialed in right from the get go,” Senators head coach D.J. Smith sad. “He was even better there in the third.

“He gave our team a chance to get our feet going and certainly was the best player on the ice for us.”

Milan Lucic scored for the Flames (10-11-2), while David Rittich made 31 saves in his fifth straight start.

After White’s empty-netter, Dadanov scored with Rittich back in net at 17:47 of the third.

“We didn’t sit back in the third,” Batherson said. “We kept it going so it was perfect.”

Ottawa capitalized on a pair of Calgary mistakes and outshot the visitors 22-6 in the second period to lead 3-1 heading into the third.

Rittich put a clearing attempt on the stick of Batherson at the face-off circle. The right-winger whipped the puck by the Calgary goaltender’s pad at 11:44 for his second of the game and first career multi-goal game.

Lucic had just pulled the Flames within a goal scoring on the power play at 10:20. He collected his own rebound and his shot that went off a Senators skate slid by Murray’s outstretched pad.

Batherson made it 2-0 at 8:26 with a high shot from the high slot.

Anisimov scored his first of the season at 6:22 off a Flames turnover in the neutral zone where Sam Bennett overskated a Lucic pass.

Stutzle dished to Anisimov, whose shot deflected off a stick and by Rittich.

“We shot ourselves in the foot an awful lot,” Flames head coach Geoff Ward said. “I thought our first period was good.”

The Flames outshot the Senators 12-7 in a scoreless first period in which both teams failed to convert a power-play chance.

Calgary’s pre-game warmup was adventurous. Defencemen Nikita Nesterov and Rasmus Andersson collided and went down near the blue-line.

A helmetless Sean Monahan took a puck to the face during warmup, but played in the game.

The Flames capped a 10-day, six-game road trip 2-3-1.

“We had an opportunity tonight to get off the road trip above .500 but we didn’t get it done,” Ward said.

“We’ve got to find the answers. Nobody is going to feel sorry for us. We’ve got to come up with the solutions ourselves. As a team we’ve got to be more committed to playing the game the right way.”

The Sens start their own six-game road swing Tuesday facing the Montreal Canadiens before heading to Calgary for Thursday’s rematch with the Flames.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 1, 2021.

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