OTTAWA, Ontario (AP) — Chris Tierney made sure Filip Gustavsson’s first NHL start was a victorious one.
Tierney scored the tiebreaking goal late in the third period and Gustavsson stopped 35 shots, leading the Ottawa Senators to a 2-1 win over the Calgary Flames on Monday night.
Tierney scored his fourth of the season, and first in 30 games, at 17:24 of the third. That was enough for Gustavsson, who helped Ottawa to its first win in three games and fourth in six games this season against Calgary. Ryan Dzingel also scored for Ottawa.
“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.”
Tierney did take solace in finally ending his lengthy goal-scoring drought with the 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.”
Johnny Gaudreau scored for Calgary, which fell to 4-3-0 under head coach Darryl Sutter. The Flames were playing their third game in four nights and coming off a 2-0 loss to Toronto on Saturday.
The 22-year-old Gustavsson became the fourth goaltender to start a game this season for Ottawa. He stopped eight shots in place of injured starter Joey Daccord in the Senators’ 3-2 shootout loss to Vancouver on Wednesday night, his NHL debut.
“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.”
“He made saves,” said Ottawa head coach D.J. Smith. “I guess that’s why you work every day in the minors.
“You never know when you’re getting the chance. That’s a lesson to everybody that when your number gets called make sure you’re ready and he was ready.”
Dzingel had the only goal of the first at 10:23. He converted on a 2-on-1 with Clark Bishop, beating Jacob Markstrom (21 saves) on a wrist shot for his seventh of the season.
And Gustavsson made it stand through two periods despite Calgary holding a 26-16 edge in shots on goal. He made a nice stop on Calgary’s Zach Rinaldo just over nine minutes into the second, then denied Flames forward Dillon Dube with 2:34 to play.
Gaudreau tied the game at 14:54 of the third. He came off the bench to take a centering pass from Milan Lucic and fired a shot past Gustavsson for his 13th of the season.
Sutter said Ottawa didn’t do anything that the Flames didn’t expect to see.
“We knew exactly what we were in for,” he said. “To be quite honest, they’re a team that’s a lot like ours in terms of their forwards.