M&G GameTime Preview: Flames Host Sens

Mike Ridewood

The Flames have collected seven victories in their last 11 games, while the Senators sit four points out of the eighth playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. The real news is the loss of Reto Berra (Avalanche) and Lee Stempniak (Penguins). Both were dealt for draft picks.

Tonight at 9:30, the Flames will host the Ottawa Senators at the Saddledome in Calgary. It's the first meeting this season between the two, with the rematch happening in Ottawa on March 30th. The Flames just split a two game road trip, defeating the Edmonton Oilers 2-1 on Saturday and losing to the Minnesota Wild 3-2 on Monday. Tonight opens up a two game homestand. They'll welcome the New York Islanders on Friday. The Senators will be playing in the third game of a four game roadtrip. They started out by defeating the Vancouver Canucks in the Heritage Classic on Sunday, 4-2 and defeating the Oilers 3-2 last night. They'll go on to visit the Winnipeg Jets on Saturday.

The last time Calgary and Ottawa faced off was December 30th, 2011 (not a typo). The Flames used goals by Rene Bourque (12), Curtis Glencross (PP, 15) and Chris Butler (1) to jump out to a 3-0 lead at the first intermission. The Sens managed to match them through the next two periods with markers by Nick Foligno (11), Zach Smith (11) and Erik Karlsson (5), sending the action into the fourth period. After Bourque was called for holding, Daniel Alfredsson (11) sealed Calgary's fate with a power play goal to ice the match, 4-3. It was his 400th career goal. Leland Irving made 45 saves in the Flames loss, while Craig Anderson and Alex Auld combined to stop 29-of-32 shots for the win. * Full RecapBox Score

Flames @ Senators 12/30/11 (via NHL)

Irving bemoaned the "little things" after the game:

It's just all the little things that help bottle up a team. We were still too loose tonight and allowing them to skate too much. There were times in the game where I thought we were in control, but obviously in the end they took it to us.

Silver Seven has more on the Senators.

Calgary was unable to keep up with the Minnesota Wild in their last game, a 3-2 road loss. Mike Cammalleri (14) and Mark Giordano (10) provided the fireworks for the Flames, while the Wild were paced by markers from Kyle Brodziak (5), Jared Spurgeon (PP, 2) and Zach (Breezy) Parise (21). Reto Berra allowed all three goals on 27 shots, while counterpart Darcy Kuemper made 21 saves for the victory. * Full RecapBox Score

Flames @ Wild 03/03/14 (via NHL)

Calgary coach Bob Hartley spoke candidly about Cammalleri, who is rumoured to be the first on the Flames trading block:

You always know he's going to show up to work. It was nice to see that loose puck go right to his stick. Sometimes, the puck doesn't come to you at the right time, but tonight the timing was great.

Head on over to Hockey Wilderness for more on Minnesota.

Last night, the Senators dropped a 3-2 decision to the Edmonton Oilers. Erik Karlsson (17) and Jason Spezza (16) lit the lamp in the losing effort. Ales Hemsky (8, 9) and Jordan Eberle (20) were the muscle for the Oilers. Ben Scrivens made 34 saves, while Craig Anderson stopped 27 shots. *Full RecapBox Score

Hemsky talked about the trade deadline afterward:

It is hard not to think about it when you are hearing all the rumors, but I have been in this situation for the last four years. I just tried to play my game and not think about it. It was fun. I don't know what will happen, but I had a great time here, and the people treated me very well in Edmonton. I met a lot of great people and really appreciate everything they have done for me. It was definitely a nice game for me if it was my last one here, but it is still sad if it comes to an end. It is what it is; it is a business. We'll see what happens.

For Oilers news, follow Copper and Blue.

GameTime: 7:30 PM MT

Season Series: First of two games

All-Time Series: The Flames hold the edge in head to head  matchups, 108-88-22.

Standings

Flames: 23-31-7, .434, 53 points, on pace for a 71 point season. Sixth in the Pacific Division, 13th in the Western Conference, tied for 27th in the NHL. Last five: W-L-L-W-L. Playoff Odds: .01%

Senators: 27-24-11, .524, 65 points, on pace for 86 points. Sixth in the Atlantic Division, 12th in the Eastern Conference, 23rd in the NHL. Last five: W-L-L-W-L. Playoff Odds: 14.4%.

Common Thread

Brian McGrattan played his first three NHL seasons with the Senators, appearing in 143 games and scoring twice with eight assists and 287 penalty minutes.

Derek Smith played 11 games over two seasons for the Senators, logging an assist and a minus-1 rating.

Flames Leaders

Games: Jiri Hudler, TJ Brodie, Chris Butler - 61

Goals: Sean Monahan - 18, Jiri Hudler, Mikael Backlund, Mike Cammalleri - 14

Assists: Jiri Hudler - 29, Mark Giordano - 20, Dennis Wideman - 17

Points: Jiri Hudler - 43, Mark Giordano - 30, Mikael Backlund - 29

PIM: Brian McGrattan - 95, Shane O'Brien - 58, Ladislav Smid - 52

Faceoffs: Matt Stajan (440-for-908) - 48.5%, Joe Colborne (206-for-427) - 48.2%, Mikael Backlund (456-for-968) - 47.1%

Hits: Lance Bouma - 126, David Jones - 102, Joe Colborne - 93

Blocked Shots: Chris Butler - 159, Kris Russell - 132, Ladislav Smid - 109

Shots-on-Goal: Lee Stempniak - 144, Mike Cammalleri - 136, Mikael Backlund - 129

Probable Starting Lineup

(from www2.dailyfaceoff.com)

Flames

Forwards

Cammalleri - Backlund - Jones

Hudler - Monahan - Stempniak

Galiardi - Granlund - Colborne

Bouma - Byron - McGrattan

Defensemen

Giordano - Brodie

Russell - Butler

Smid - Wideman

Goaltender

Joni Ortio (0-1-0) will make his second NHL start.

Senators

Forwards

Milan Michalek - Jason Spezza - Cory Conacher

Clarke MacArthur - Kyle Turris - Erik Condra

Mike Hoffman - Mika Zibanejad - Bobby Ryan

Colin Greening - Zach Smith - Chris Neal

Defensemen

Marc Methot - Erik Karlsson

Chris Philips - Cody Ceci

Patrick Wiercioch - Eric Gyrba

Goaltender

Goalie is unconfirmed as of the writing of this preview, but Anderson pitched a loss last night. I'd say it's probable that we see Robin Lehner.

Earlier today and yesterday, there were a few big moves across the NHL, notably Martin St. Louis to the Rangers and Roberto Luongo back to the Panthers. The Flames traded Berra to the Avalanche for something, I think it's a draft pick, Ruhee will fill us in with the details next. They also parted ways with Lee Stempniak, who will be joining the Penguins, also for draft picks.

Thanks for reading your M&G preview. Don't forget to follow us on Twitter, "like" us on Facebook, and keep us bookmarked for frequent Flames news.

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