Flames Burn Senators on Czarnik’s Late Tally

OTTAWA — Matthew Tkachuk’s Calgary Flames defeated the Ottawa Senators 2-1 Sunday night, but it was younger brother Brady Tkachuk who earned family bragging rights.

In the inaugural meeting between the two brothers at the NHL level, it was Brady who scored the Senators’ only goal in an impressive solo effort, while Matthew was held off the scoresheet.

“I’ll let him from a personal standpoint take this one,” said Matthew. “I know we play them again in a month so I’ll be pressing to get one that night.

“I’m happy for him, happy for my family. What a weekend they had. All they were talking about was how much fun they had.”

There were over 30 Tkachuk family members on hand for the game wearing specially made jerseys to support both teams. Prior to the game the brothers made a pre-game pact of no fighting with a handshake. A special moment saw the brothers take the opening faceoff.

Following the game Brady gave his grandmother, who shed tears after he scored, the game puck.

“It was a special night, but I wish we came away with the two points,” said Brady.

Mikael Backlund and Austin Czarnik scored for the Flames (39-16-7), who have now won five straight. David Rittich made 22 saves.

Czarnik scored the winner in the final minute of regulation as he beat Craig Anderson high.

Austin Czarnik Michael Frolik
Calgary Flames celebrate a game winning goal (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick)

Anderson was busy stopping 33 shots for the Senators (22-35-5), who have now lost four straight.

“Overall I thought the guys played hard and I thought we did a lot of good things playing with the puck trying to make plays,” said Anderson. “It’s just one of those games where you just didn’t know which bounce was going to be the difference.”

The brotherly battle was a welcome distraction for Ottawa fans who eagerly await news on Mark Stone’s future as Monday’s trade deadline approaches. Stone was a healthy scratch for the third straight game.

In addition to Stone, Cody Ceci and Mikkel Boedker were late scratches, leading to speculation the pair could also be on the move.

Tied 1-1 to start the third, the Senators believed they took the lead on a power-play goal at 8:24, but the Flames successfully challenged for goaltender interference as it appeared Rittich had covered the puck. It was a near identical play to a Flames first-period goal that was called back as well.

Flames coach Bill Peters admitted he’d never seen that scenario play out before.

“They were identical plays basically so I was confident on the challenge obviously,” said Peters. “If ours was no good I didn’t think that was going to be any good either.”

Seconds before Czarnik scored the winner the newly-acquired Anthony Duclair nearly scored as he rang a shot off the post.

Duclair, who was acquired from the Columbus Blue Jackets on Saturday, was playing his third game in as many days, but his first with Ottawa.

“It was definitely tough, especially in the third period,” said Duclair. “I felt my legs cramping up, but I’ll stick with it. It was a good first game I think, especially playing at home. It was nice.”

The Flames dominated in the second period, but Anderson was able to come up big when necessary and the Senators tied it on Brady Tkachuk’s 14th of the season.

After being outplayed much of the period the younger Tkachuk took a pass just outside Ottawa’s blueline, broke in alone on Rittich and slid a backhand under the left pad. Brady Tkachuk looked up to where his family members were cheering and raised his arms.

“I was pretty excited,” said Brady. “It was a special moment and the excitement got the best of me.”

It was the Senators’ first goal in 160:55 of play.

The Flames outplayed Ottawa in the first period, but only led 1-0.

Backlund opened the scoring at the four-minute mark with a quick wrist shot from the slot.

Matthew Tkachuk believed he had made it 2-0 just over three minutes later as he shoved the puck from under Anderson’s glove, but the Senators challenged and upon review it was ruled there was goaltender interference.

Notes: Calgary’s Curtis Lazar and Dalton Prout were healthy scratches.

Lisa Wallace, The Canadian Press