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Photo Credit: Marc DesRosiers-USA TODAY Sports

FGD 45: Here come the Senators (7pm MT, SN Flames)

After two days off, the Calgary Flames (19-22-3, 41 points) are back in action! They’re in “must-win” mode when they face the visiting Ottawa Senators (15-26-4, 34 points), who recently upended the Montreal Canadiens. The Flames need points desperately and hope to regain momentum after a tight loss on Friday to Montreal.

The puck drops just after 7:00 p.m. MT and you can catch the game on Sportsnet Flames or on Sportsnet 960 The Fan. The game will be preceded by a ceremony commemorating Milan Lucic reaching 1,000 NHL games.

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The Flames

Projected lines, via Daily Faceoff:

Gaudreau – Lindholm – Tkachuk
Mangiapane – Monahan – Ritchie
Lucic – Backlund – Nordstrom
Leivo – Ryan – Dube

Giordano – Tanev
Hanifin – Andersson
Valimaki – Stone

Jacob Markstrom starts for the Flames, backed up by Louis Domingue. The active extras are Nikita Nesterov and Buddy Robinson. The taxi squad is Artyom Zagidulin, Oliver Kylington, Zac Rinaldo and Dominik Simon.

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The Flames have played quite well lately, even before their recent winning streak. But they’re in a position standings-wise where there are no gold stars for good efforts. They need points, and lots of them, as they try to reel in Montreal for the last playoff spot.

The Senators

Projected lines, via Daily Faceoff:

Tkachuk – Norris – Batherson
Stützle – White – Dadonov
Formenton – Pinto – C. Brown
Paul – Tierney – Dzingel

Chabot – Zaitsev
Brannstrom – Zub
Mete – J. Brown

Matt Murray starts for the Senators, backed up by Marcus Hogberg. The extras are Artem Anisimov, Mike Amadio, Jacob Bernard-Docker and Anton Forsberg. The taxi squad is Michael Haley, Clark Bishop, Logan Shaw, Vitaly Abramov, Olle Alsing and Cody Goloubef.

Ottawa’s spent this season in spoiler mode, so the next few weeks will be right up their alley. They have a young team full of fun players and they rely on spunk and work ethic to frustrate their opposition. Just imagine how good this team could be if D.J. Smith and his coaching staff can get an upgraded roster in the next few years as their youngsters mature and improve.

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The numbers

Calgary Ottawa
Wins 19 15
Points (%) 41 (.466) 34 (.378)
Adjusted Corsi For 52.0% 47.3%
Expected Goals For 52.1% 47.6%
Power Play 20.0% 16.2%
Penalty Kill 81.2% 76.8%

Playoff hopes and dreams

The Flames’ tragic number is 9.5. Any combination of 9.5 Calgary losses and Montreal wins eliminates the Flames from playoff contention. Their magic number is 17.5. Any combination of 17.5 Flames wins and Montreal losses clinch the Flames a playoff spot

Unfit to play report

The Flames are healthy.

The Senators are without Derek Stepan, Austin Watson and Joey Daccord.

When last we met

The Flames are 2-4-1 against the Senators this season through seven games. After tonight, they play one more time: on May 9.

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Know thy enemy

Your recommended Twitter follows for tonight’s contest: