Calgary Flames Game Day 67: An important clash with the Senators (7pm MT, SNW/960)

Photo credit:Marc DesRosiers-USA TODAY Sports
Ryan Pike
1 year ago
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After a disappointing result on Friday against Anaheim, the Calgary Flames (29-24-13, 71 points) are back in action at the Saddledome on Sunday. And folks: they need points, plain and simple. They’ll try to earn two when they host the Ottawa Senators (33-28-4, 70 points), who are effectively their counterparts in the Eastern Conference – a team trying to grind their way into a playoff berth.
The broadcast begins at 7 p.m. MT on Sportsnet West and Sportsnet 960 The Fan!

The Flames

Projected lines courtesy Daily Faceoff:
Pelletier – Lindholm – Toffoli
Huberdeau – Kadri – Dube
Mangiapane – Backlund – Coleman
Lucic – Lewis – Duehr
Weegar – Andersson
Hanifin – Tanev
Zadorov – Stecher
We’re projecting Jacob Markstrom to get his sixth consecutive start in goal, backed up by Dan Vladar. (Markstrom’s posted a .930 save percentage in his past five starts dating back to the beginning of March.) The expected scratches are Trevor Lewis, Nick Ritchie and Dennis Gilbert. Compared to Friday’s game, Lewis and Ritchie likely slide out and Adam Ruzicka and Walker Duehr slot back in. (It would Lewis’ first healthy scratch of the season, and the first games he’s missed since being rested for the last two games of the 2021-22 regular season.)
But it was an optional morning skate, so we’ll see what happens at warm-up. Update: Lewis stays in, Ruzicka stays out.
Well, the Flames’ winning streak hit a brick wall on Friday evening against Anaheim. And so the Flames face an even steeper climb into a post-season berth. They’ve shuffled their forward lines a bit, and now have to go on a run to get themselves in. They’re a strong possession team and play effective defensive hockey, but man, they need to find a way to translate zone time and shots into goals. Because if they don’t, their season ends at Game 82.

The Senators

Projected lines courtesy Daily Faceoff:
Tkachuk – Stützle – Giroux
Debrincat – Pinto – Batherson
Joseph – Gambrell – Gauthier
Kelly – Kastelic – Watson
Chabot – Zub
Sanderson – Chychrun
Brannstrom – Hamonic
Kevin Mandolese is expected to start for the Senators, backed up by Mads Sogaard. Saturday’s extras were Erik Brannstrom, Julien Gauthier and Parker Kelly. Given the back-to-back, perhaps the Senators will make a few tweaks to their skaters. (Update: Brannstrom, Gauthier and Kelly in, Nick Holden, Patrick Brown and Derick Brassard out.)
It’s a tough situation for the Senators for this game. Mandolese is their fourth-string goalie and making his just third NHL appearance. They played in the 8 p.m. MT slot on Hockey Night in Canada, in Vancouver, on Saturday night. They lost, then flew to Calgary and lost an hour in the daylight savings changeover. This game actually begins a scant 19 hours after their previous one ended, in a real chronological sense. It’s the most scheduled win the Flames will be handed this season.
The Senators are a scrappy bunch. Sure, they’re missing a few players, including two goalies. Sure, they have consistency issues. They still have a few really exciting players and a few of ’em – looking at you, Tim Stützle – have the ability to change a game with a strong performance. The Flames need to be at their best.
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Unavailable players

The Flames are without Oliver Kylington and Michael Stone.
The Senators are without Josh Norris, Anton Forsberg and Cam Talbot.

It’s a race!

The Flames enter Sunday’s games chasing a few teams:
  • They’re tied with Nashville for ninth place, but Nashville has three games in hand.
  • They’re six points behind Winnipeg (for the final wild-card spot).
  • They’re nine points behind Edmonton (for the first wild-card spot), with Calgary having a game in hand.
  • They’re 10 points behind Seattle (for the final divisional spot).
To reach 95 points (and have a reasonable chance at a playoff spot), the Flames need 24 points over the final 16 games – that’s a .750 pace in their remaining games.
If the season ended today, by virtue of points percentage, the Flames would be drafting 13th overall (before the lottery).

The numbers

71 (.538)Points (%)70 (.538)

Head to head

This is the second of two meetings between these clubs this season. The Flames lost to Ottawa a month ago in overtime after allowing a two-goal third period lead to evaporate in the final couple minutes of regulation.
Since the beginning of the cursed North Division (2020-21) season, the Flames have won just four of 12 meetings with Ottawa.

Social life

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