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Photo Credit: Marc DesRosiers-USA TODAY Sports

FGD 23: A rubber match with the Senators (5pm MT, SN West)

For the third time in the past week, the Calgary Flames (10-10-2, 22 points) face the Ottawa Senators (7-15-1, 15 points) at the Canadian Tire Centre, located in nearby Kanata, Ontario. These two clubs have traded one-sided wins, and the Flames have swung between looking pretty good and much less so recently. The season-long quest for consistency… continues!

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 – Backlund – Mangiapane
Gaudreau – Monahan – Lindholm
Lucic – Bennett – Dube
Nordstrom – Gawdin – Robinson

Giordano – Andersson
Hanifin – Tanev
Valimaki – Nesterov

David Rittich starts for the Flames, backed up by Artyom Zagidulin. (Jacob Markstrom is still day-to-day.) The probable scratches are Josh Leivo and Dominik Simon. The taxi squad is Michael Stone, Oliver Kylington, Glenn Gawdin, Byron Froese, Zac Rinaldo and Brett Ritchie.

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Quietly, Rittich has been one of the better even strength goalies in the NHL. As of Monday morning, 54 goaltenders had made five (or more) starts; Rittich is 11th among that group in even strength save percentage at .932. (Markstrom is 25th with a .922.) He hasn’t been quite as flashy as Markstrom has been, but Rittich has been very, very good for the Flames – and that bodes well for them in a season where the schedule will only get more jam-packed from here on out.

The Senators

Projected lines, via Daily Faceoff:

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

Chabot – Zaitsev
Reilly – Zub
Coburn – 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, Michael Haley, Clark Bishop, Erik Brannstrom and Braydon Coburn. Coburn will be activated for tonight’s game.

The Senators are hoping to bounce back from a fairly disjointed outing on Saturday morning. They were fairly non-descript at even strength – being out-scored 4-0 – but they were excellent on the power play, putting up three man advantage goals. If they can carry that swagger over to their five on five play, it could be big trouble for the Flames.

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The numbers

Calgary Ottawa
Wins 10 7
Points (%) 22 (.500) 15 (.326)
Adjusted Corsi For 50.7% 48.0%
Expected Goals For 51.7% 48.8%
Power Play 21.3% 15.7%
Penalty Kill 78.2% 75.3%

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 a 10-10-2 record, 22 points, and a .500 points percentage. They need 43 more points to punch their ticket to the post-season with 34 games remaining, which would translate to a .632 points percentage over the remaining games.

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.

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When last we met

This is the third of nine meetings between these two clubs this season. So far, they’ve been an even split. The Flames lost 6-1 (boo) and then won 6-3 (yay). They’ll face seven more times, including tonight.

Know thy enemy

Your recommended Twitter follows for tonight’s contest: