Ottawa 2 Calgary 1
OTTAWA — Chris Tierney made sure Filip Gustavsson’s first NHL start was a victorious one.
Tierney’s fourth goal of the season — but first in 30 games — at 17:24 of the third period earned the Ottawa Senators a 2-1 win over the Calgary Flames on Monday night. But a big reason for the Senators’ victory was Gustavsson, who was the game’s first star with 35 saves at Canadian Tire Centre.
“He played great, I thought, all night,” Tierney said of his goaltender. “He made some really big, timely saves for us.
“If he doesn’t play the way he does we probably don’t win so he deserves the first star, for sure.”
But Tierney did take solace in finally ending his lengthy goal-scoring drought with the game winner.
“It was nice, obviously I hadn’t scored in a while,” he said. “To score and to get a big goal that ends up being the game-winner makes it even better.
“When you feel like you’re getting looks and opportunities and pucks are bouncing or you’re not converting or finishing, it’s gets a little frustrating. But you’ve just got to try to stick with it and play your best and help the team win where you can.”
Ryan Dzingel also scored for Ottawa (11-20-3), which has just two wins in seven games (2-3-2) but improved to 4-2-0 this season versus the Flames. The two teams meet again Wednesday night.
Johnny Gaudreau scored for Calgary (15-15-3) which fell to 4-3-0 under head coach Darryl Sutter. The Flames played their third game in four nights and are 1-3-0 in their last four contests.
Gustavsson, 22, became the fourth different goalie to start a game this season with Matt Murray, Marcus Hogberd and Joey Daccord all hurt. Gustavsson made eight saves in his NHL debut Wednesday after Daccord was injured in a 3-2 shootout loss to the Vancouver Canucks.
“It (winning NHL debut) means everything,” Gustavsson said. “I’ve been here for a couple of years and I haven’t had the success I want.
“It’s just a great feeling to give something back to them and for me to play in the best hockey league in the world.”