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Photo Credit: Dan Hamilton/USA Today Sports

FGD 24: The Senators followed them home (7pm MT, SN West)

After two days off, the Calgary Flames (10-11-2, 22 points) are back in action and trying to get their season back on track. And they’ll have to do that against a team that has beaten them two out of the last three games, the Ottawa Senators (8-16-1, 17 points). The Flames weren’t particularly good last time out and they’ll be seeking to get some traction in the standings.

The puck drops just after 7 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 – Dube
Gaudreau – Monahan – Leivo
Lucic – Backlund – Mangiapane
Nordstrom – Ryan – Ritchie

Giordano – Andersson
Hanifin – Tanev
Kylington – Valimaki

David Rittich starts for the Flames, backed up by Jacob Markstrom. The probable active scratches are Sam Bennett, Artyom Zagidulin, Nikita Nesterov and Dominik Simon. The taxi squad is Michael Stone, Oliver Kylington, Byron Froese, Zac Rinaldo and Brett Ritchie, though it seems likely that Kylington and Ritchie are activated (and switch spots with Simon and Zagidulin).

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The Flames get a boost from two big returns to their lineup: Markstrom and Derek Ryan. Markstrom is, quite simply, a very good goaltender, though he’ll dress as backup tonight by all indications. But the bigger return may be Ryan, who provides a big boost to the fourth line, wins many face-offs, and is a big part of the team’s penalty kill. He touches a surprising amount of the game for someone who centres the fourth line, but he stabilizes a lot of the shaky parts of Calgary’s game.

The Senators

Projected lines, via Daily Faceoff:

Tkachuk – Norris – Brown
Paul – White – Dadonov
Stuetzle – Anismov – Batherson
Dzingel – Tierney – Watson

Chabot – Zub
Coburn – Zaitsev
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, Michael Haley, Clark Bishop, Matthew Peca and Braydon Coburn. Coburn will be activated for the game. Ryan Dzingel makes his Senators return tonight.

The Senators lost on Tuesday against Montreal by a 3-1 score, then headed west to Calgary. Drake Batherson’s scoring streak ended, but he remains a supremely dangerous player with the puck. Matthew Tkachuk summed the Senators up fairly astutely: they’re not long on skill, but they are a team that plays a smart, structured game and that allows their skilled guys – Batherson, Brady Tkachuk and Tim Stuetzle prime among them – to shine.

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The numbers

Calgary Ottawa
Wins 10 8
Points (%) 22 (.478) 17 (.340)
Adjusted Corsi For 50.2% 48.2%
Expected Goals For 51.2% 49.0%
Power Play 21.7% 14.9%
Penalty Kill 78.5% 73.4%

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 a 10-11-2 record, 22 points, and a .478 points percentage. They need 43 more points to punch their ticket to the post-season with 33 games remaining, which would translate to a .651 points percentage over the remaining games.

Unfit to play report

The Flames are fully healthy, with Derek Ryan and Jacob Markstrom returning tonight after stints on the injury reserve.

The Senators are without Mike Reilly, Marcus Hogberg and Derek Stepan.

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When last we met

The Senators have won two of three meetings between these clubs, and none of these games have been particularly close. The Senators won 6-1 and 5-1, while the Flames won 6-3.

Know thy enemy

Your recommended Twitter follows for tonight’s contest: