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Photo Credit: Marc DesRosiers-USA TODAY Sports

FGD 21: Headed to the capital (5pm MT, SN West)

Just 24 hours after a 2-1 overtime loss in Toronto, the Calgary Flames (9-9-2, 20 points) are off to Canada’s capital region to face the Ottawa Senators (6-14-1, 13 points) in the first of four consecutive games between the two clubs. (And the first of five meetings in Calgary’s next six games). The Flames have somewhat righted their ship after some really rough outings, but they need to make the next week or so a productive one in the standings.

The puck drops just after 5 p.m. MT and you can catch the action on Sportsnet West or on Sportsnet 960 The Fan.

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The Flames

Projected lines, via Daily Faceoff:

Tkachuk – Lindholm – Mangiapane
Gaudreau – Monahan – Bennett
Lucic – Backlund – Dube
Nordstrom – Gawdin – Leivo

Giordano – Andersson
Hanifin – Tanev
Valimaki – Kylington

Don’t expect many changes for the Flames tonight. David Rittich starts for the Flames, backed up by Artyom Zagidulin. (Jacob Markstrom is still day-to-day.) The active scratches yesterday were Dominik Simon and Nikita Nesterov. The taxi squad is Michael Stone, Oliver Kylington, Buddy Robinson, Byron Froese, Zac Rinaldo and Brett Ritchie. We’ll see who gets bumped up from the taxi squad for the game.

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It’s a back-to-back! And after three losses in a row, the Flames have managed to battle their way to capture three out of a possible four points against a really good Toronto team. Ottawa’s a potential trap series, as they’re less highly-touted than other teams in the (Scotia NHL) North Division but are a capable team with something to prove.

The Flames will need to play smart hockey and set the tone for the next several games.

The Senators

Projected lines, via Daily Faceoff:

Tkachuk – Norris – Brown
Paul – White – Dadonov
Stuetzle – Anisimov – Batherson
Peca – Tierney – Watson

Chabot – Zaitsev
Reilly – Zub
Brannstrom – Gudbranson

Matt Murray starts for Ottawa, backed up by Joey Daccord. The projected active extras are Christian Wolanin and Josh Brown. Ottawa’s taxi squad is Kevin Mandolese, Braydon Coburn, Matthew Peca, Michael Haley, Logan Brown and Erik Brannstrom. (Peca and Brannstrom will be activated for the game.)

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Derek Stepan left last game with an injury, and he’s now on the injured reserve, so the bottom six has been shuffled up a bit. It’ll be a bit of a work in progress, as Artem Anisimov gets thrown back in and Matthew Peca gets promoted from the taxi squad.

Ottawa’s won back-to-back games against Montreal, effectively getting Claude Julien fired. They’ve also won four of their last six outings, a far cry from the punching bag they were expected to be all season. They’re still one of the NHL’s worst-performing teams, but they’re not an easy out by any means.

The numbers

Calgary Ottawa
Wins 9 6
Points (%) 20 (.500) 13 (.310)
Adjusted Corsi For 50.0% 48.4%
Expected Goals For 51.8% 48.6%
Power Play 21.1% 13.0%
Penalty Kill 80.6% 75.4%

The drive to 65

If you peruse most standings projections, it becomes apparent that 65 points probably gets you into the playoffs. That’s a 32-23-1 record, or thereabouts, or a .580 points percentage.

The Flames have an 9-9-2 record, 20 points, and an .500 points percentage. They need 45 more points to punch their ticket to the post-season with 36 games remaining, which would translate to a .625 points percentage over the remaining games.

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Unfit to play report

The Flames are without Derek Ryan and Jacob Markstrom. Markstrom is considered day-to-day.

The Senators are without Marcus Hogberg and Derek Stepan. Ryan Dzingel is quarantining and should be active next week.

When last we met

This is the first of nine meetings between these teams this season. The Flames lost 5-2 in Ottawa back in January in their last match-up.

Know thy enemy

Your recommended Twitter follows for tonight’s contest: