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The Senators Face the Flames

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Game Preview #56

Flames vs. Senators--7:30PM MST on Sportsnet West

 

The Ottawa Senators – Flames matchup today is one between polar opposites. The Flames have recently roared into a playoff position with some excellent hockey, while the Senators have not won a single game in their last ten, bringing an 0-8-2 record into this one compared to the Flames' 7-1-2, and appear to be in a position to challenge Edmonton's dominant losing drive for the first overall pick at this year's draft.

The fact the Sens are struggling in the weaker Eastern Conference this year is reason for Flames fans to be confident to a point.  This appears to be one of the few remaining games that fans should expect a slam-dunk in, but watch the hubris Flames fans, as this Senator’s team has recently added Jason Spezza back back into their lineup. They are coming off a strong game in a losing cause against the Vancouver Canucks and they may not be the push over that some expect.

The Stat Rack

Flames

Rank

 

Rank

Senators

15.9%

23rd

PP%

21st

16.8%

82.3%

16th

PK%

22nd

80.2%

2.84

17th

GA

28th

3.24

2.73

15th

GF

29th

2.20

48.2%

25th

FO%

16th

50.1%

28.0

3rd

SA/G

17th

30.5

30.5

15th

SF/G

24th

28.9

 

Number Crunch

The Flames lead the Sens in all categories but FO% and PP%. By the numbers, the Flames should take this one, especially given the momentum of the two teams in the last ten games. 

 

Alive in the Last Five

Flames

Regehr – 1G 2A +1 in the last 3GP

Morrison – 1G 5A +3 in the last 5GP

Jokinen – 0G 5A +1 in the last 5GP

 

Senators

Spezza  - 1G 3A -2 in the last 3GP

Kovalev – 3G 2A 0 in the last 5GP

 

Anticipated Roster (subject to change by game time)

The Flames

The Senators

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bourque

Morrison

Iginla

Michalek

Spezza

Shannon

Glencross

Jokinen

Moss

Smith

Regin

Kovalev

Kostopoulos

Stajan

Jackman

Foligno

Fisher

Butler

Hagman

Backlund

Bouma

Ruutu

Kelly

Neil

 

 

 

 

 

 

Regehr

Bouwmeester

 

Phillips

E. Karlsson

 

Giordano

Sarich

 

Gonchar

Lee

 

Staios/Mikkelson

Babchuk

 

Kuba

Campoli

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Kiprusoff

Karlsson

 

Lehner

Elliot

 

*Update - Pardy (upper body) and Tanguay (concussion) out indefinitely, Alfredsson (back) out indefinitely 

 

Anticipated Game Style

I’m predicting a close but higher scoring game. Probably closer than most anticipate, and I can sum up the reason in two words-- Jason Spezza. Spezza has just returned to the lineup and he looks to be in full form from what I saw in the Sens' last game against the Canucks.

This will be his fourth game back from injury and he has been playing well in a losing cause.  I am not banking on a win for the Flames  in this game, although many probably expect an easy one. They will have to earn the 'W' the same way Vancouver did.

I’ll be watching the start of the first period closely, as how the Flames come out against the Sens will be telling. If they are slow out of the gate and the Sens get a quick goal, this game could go south for the Flames. If the Flames write the Sens off and think they can mail it in for a win, I think they will get a surprise. 

One on One

Jason Spezza vs Olli Jokinen

This One on One may surprise some people but the reason why I see it as key is that Olli has been filling a lot of diverse roles this year – I think most agree that his degree of success in doing so is up for some debate but regardless, whoever faces off against Spezza will be key for the Flames. 

Jokinen’s role changes game to game though. Sometimes Brent Sutter has him trying to fill Langkow’s former role as a shut down center against the other team’s first line, other times Olli is up on the first line being told to score.

I expect to see him on the ice against Spezza. I Could be wrong, as I can’t keep up with the way Sutter changes on the fly and he is not consistent game to game or even within a single game itself. Whoever lines up against Spezza--be it Stajan, Morrison or Jokinen will be the key Flame to watch in the One on One.

The Magic 8-Ball

The obvious and easy call from all angles, from the stats to the recent records of the Flames and Sens is the Flames taking the two points in this one, but I have a nagging feeling that it won't be so easy since watching the Sens last game against the Nucks.

If the Flames take the Sens for granted I think they could lose this game. They have to come out strong and play like they did against the Blackhawks.

Magic 8-ball what say you ?

"A chain is only as strong as its weakest link"

Well, here's hoping the weakest link on the Sens is weaker than the one on the Flames...