Flames upend Capitals 5-2

After a tough road trip, the Calgary Flames were happy to be

back home.

Calgary scored on the first shift, and Michael Cammalleri scored

two goals and the Flames cruised to a 5-2 win over the Washington

Capitals on Saturday.

Cammalleri’s first goal gave Calgary a 3-1 lead at the 13-minute

mark of the first period.

”I thought it was nice for us to come out with a high energy

start,” said Cammalleri, who was playing in his fourth game after

missing the first seven with a hand injury.

”(We) just came off a nine or 10-day road trip, quite a lot of

travel and I thought it was a testament to the group’s will to win

the way that we were able to get going off the start.”

The Flames started the season 3-0-2. But things didn’t go as

well on a five-game road trip in which they only earned one

win.

”We ended with two losses and that didn’t feel good for anybody

but at the same time, you regroup, you’re excited to come home,

excited to play in front of our fans and know that if we can put

some wins together we’re right back where we want to be,” said

Cammalleri, who also had an assist and has five points (three

goals, two assists) on the season.

The Flames’ big achievement was holding Capitals star Alex

Ovechkin to no points for the first time in eight career games

against Calgary. In the first seven, he had eight goals and seven

assists.

”The start, we weren’t ready for it. They jumped on us right

away, scored first shift. They had momentum and we kept making

mistakes in our zone,” Ovechkin said.

Slow starts have been an issue for the Capitals all season.

They’ve been outscored 12-6 in the first period.

”I don’t think we jump in right away. Something has to be

happening. We have to score or there needs to be a big play by a

goalie,” Ovechkin said. ”We were a little sleepy out there

tonight.”

Not only did Ovechkin, the NHL’s third-leading scorer, get shut

out, but so did the Capitals’ No. 2-ranked power play, which went 0

for 4 against a Calgary penalty kill that entered the game ranked

29th.

”The plan was to not allow (Ovechkin) to get the puck. The only

place in the game where it was pretty tough was on the power play.

He’s so skilled and playing on the far side, he is basically

impossible to cover,” Flames coach Bob Hartley said.

”Karri Ramo had a couple of big saves on him and I thought that

5-on-5, the Stajan line and whoever was playing on D against Ovie

did quite a job.”

Also scoring for Calgary (5-4-2) was Kris Russell, Jiri Hudler

and Curtis Glencross, with Russell and Dennis Wideman finishing

plus-5.

Calgary, which has yet to lose in regulation at the Saddledome

(3-0-1), continues its three-game homestand Wednesday night against

the Toronto Maple Leafs.

Jason Chimera and Aaron Volpatti scored for Washington (5-6-0),

which had its three-game winning streak come to an end. The

Capitals have two stops left on a five-game road trip, the next

game is at Vancouver on Monday.

It was the second and final meeting of the season between the

two teams and for Holtby, the night went similar to the first

meeting, when he was pulled 16:22 into the first after three goals

on 11 shots and the Capitals down 3-0.

On Saturday, it was three goals in 12:50 and a 3-1 deficit.

Calgary got off to a fast start, jumping out to a 1-0 lead on a

strong opening shift by the line of Cammalleri with Joe Colborne

and TJ Galiardi.

The trio hemmed the Capitals in their end nearly the entire time

and the persistent pressure led to Russell’s first goal as a Flame

at 1:04.

”We weren’t happy with the way we had come out to start the

previous games. We knew that we were behind the 8-ball and we

didn’t want to have it happen, especially to a team like this,”

Russell said. ”We did a good job of really making sure we were

focused from the start and ready for that first shift.”

The shot advantage reached 11-2 in Calgary’s favor at 7:24 after

Hudler converted Sean Monahan’s rebound. Hudler leads the Flames

with 13 points and has points in 10 of Calgary’s first 11

games.

”We’re going to have to realize as a group that we have to do

something before the game to make sure we’re prepared because the

majority of the games we’re losing, it’s because of the first

period,” Holtby said.

”It’s nothing to do with systems, it’s nothing to do with what

the coaching staff can do, it’s what we do as professional

athletes, professional hockey plays. You prepare yourself and we’re

not doing a good enough job in here.”

Ramo finished with 27 saves to even his record at 2-2-1. Holtby

took the loss and is 4-5-0.

Notes: Calgary was without Lee Stempniak. Riding a five-game

scoring streak (three goals, two assists), Stempniak was out with a

lower-body injury. Already out for the Flames and missing his third

game was captain Mark Giordano (lower body). … Derek Smith, who

played Friday night with Abbotsford (AHL), caught an early flight

and played his first game of the season. … Nate Schmidt picked up

his first point with an assist on Volpatti’s goal. … In a beer

promotion, 3,000 red helmets with red lights on the top were given

out to fans sitting behind the nets. They turned on the lights for

Flames goals.