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The Flames Are In Ottawa For The First Of Three Against The Senators

Forget the record, Ottawa shouldn’t be taken lightly.

Calgary Flames v Ottawa Senators Photo by Andre Ringuette/NHLI via Getty Images

Calgary Flames @ Ottawa Senators, 5 PM MT, Canadian Tire Centre, Ottawa ON

TV: SNW - Radio: Sportsnet 960

Calgary Flames (9-9-2, 20 pts) - Ottawa Senators (6-14-1, 13 pts)

NHL Standings

Let’s face the facts: no one expected Ottawa to be world beaters this season. They are young and are more than a few pieces away from being a team that scares their opponents. With that said, neither are the Flames and if they play down to Ottawa, it has the potential to be ugly.

The Sens are not going to make the playoffs in 2021, this we know. But they are on a two game winning streak and with those two wins over Montreal, they contributed to the firing of Claude Julien. Outside of those two straight they’ve really struggled, losing 13 out of their first 15 games. No one, not even in an 82 game season is recovering from that.

The Sens have 51 goals for on the season, which is middle of the road and one more than the Flames currently have. Where they are struggling mightily is keeping the puck OUT of their net. Ottawa has given up a league leading 84 goals, 67 of those at even strength. Their PK is 24th in the league (75.9%) and their PP units have scored only 10 times with the man advantage in 77 opportunities. To compound matters the Senators have only scored four or more goals four times and one of those was during an 8-5 LOSS to the Edmonton Oilers. They’ve also given up four or more goals 11 times this season, eight of them coming in a row.

We say that to remind you that while the Sens aren’t very good, the Flames can lay an egg just as easily as anyone in the NHL. Calgary will have to shake off Wednesday night’s 2-1 OT loss in record time and focus on Ottawa and saving their season. David Rittich will most likely get the start tonight as he’s needed and he is currently the Flames best chance at winning. He stopped 71 of 73 shots in two straight games against the NHL’s best team in the Toronto Maple Leafs and despite it being a back to back, Calgary needs him again. The Flames are also goal deficient as of late, scoring seven goals in their last five games of which four were losses.

You can talk Tkachuk vs Tkachuk all you want because it’s easy, low hanging fruit, but there’s a lot more at stake here than just Matthew and Brady playing against each other. The Flames MUST get a least 6-7 points out of the next four games against Ottawa or changes are going to need to be made. This shortened 56 game season is already at the 20 game mark for Calgary and anything less than three wins against the basement dwelling Senators is unacceptable.

Starting Goalies (E=Expected, C=Confirmed)

Flames: Rittich (E): 1-3-1, 2.29 GAA, .914 SV%

Senators: Murray (E): 4-9-1, 3.66 GAA, .886 SV%

Team Leaders

Flames: Goals- Gaudreau (9), Points- Gaudreau (18), PIM- Tkachuk (19), Save%- Rittich (.914)

Senators: Goals- Tkachuk (8), Points- Tkachuk (15), PIM: Tkachuk (30). Save%- Murray (.883)

What’s Happening With The Opposition?

Ottawa Senators Coverage: Silver Seven Sens

Last Time Out

Calgary Flames 1 - Toronto Maple Leafs 2 (OT)

Ottawa Senators 5 - Montreal Canadiens 4 (SO)

Players To Watch

Calgary Flames

Calgary Flames v Toronto Maple Leafs Photo by Claus Andersen/Getty Images

Andrew Mangiapane (F): 3 goals in last 5 games

Ottawa Senators

NHL: FEB 23 Canadiens at Senators Photo by Richard A. Whittaker/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Josh Norris (C): 4 points in last 5 games