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Game 27 Preview & Open Thread: Ottawa Senators @ Calgary Flames

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NHL: MAR 21 Senators at Flames Photo by Brett Holmes/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

There are vicious rumours floating around that the Ottawa Senators played a game last night against the Minnesota Wild. They lost 7-2 you say? Well, frankly, I just don’t believe you. I’m just going to carry on with my life as if last night never happened. Deal? Deal.

The Sens roll into Calgary to face a struggling Flames team embroiled in the swirling Bill Peters controversy. Calgary had great expectations for this season after last year’s run to the top of the Pacific Division but they currently sit outside of a play-off spot. Perhaps surprisingly, it’s been the play of their top players that hasn’t quite been up to snuff. Johnny Gaudreau has a meager (by his standards) 20 points in 28 games, including just five goals. They’re looking OK by most shot metrics, but they’ve badly struggled to convert their volume of shots into great scoring scoring chances. Here’s their offensive Threat chart, courtesy of hockeyviz.com:

Flames 19-20 Offensive Threat Chart

Compare that with last year’s chart:

Flames 18-19 Offensive Threat Chart

Things are a bit grim in Calgary, these days!

With no morning skate, here’s how DJ lined his team up last night with the added assumption Marcus Hogberg will get the start on a second night of a back-to-back:

Paul - Pageau - White
Tkachuk - L Brown - Duclair
Namestnikov - Anisimov - C Brown
Chlapik - Tierney - Ennis

Chabot - Hainsey
Borowiecki - Zaitsev
Brannstrom - DeMelo

Hogberg (starter)
Nilsson

Game Notes:

  • Nilsson has been so good this year, his performance last night came as a real shock. Minnesota were clearly the better team, but that was maybe only the second or third time all year that I think you could fairly say part of the blame for a loss fell on the goalie’s shoulders.
  • After Nick Paul snapped out of his long goal-scoring drought last night, it would be nice to see Connor Brown break his personal goose egg. He hasn’t potted one since November 2nd, and tonight will be the 15th game since his tally against Boston.
  • What happens when both Brady and Matthew Tkachuk are on the ice at the same time tonight? Will their combined energy cause a tear in the space-time continuum? I feel like this is the kind of phenomena that scientists should be studying.
  • The Flames are likely hoping that the situation with Peters will just blow over, but I can’t say they’ve exactly covered themselves in glory throughout the process. To be blunt, given how quickly terrible stories came flying out of the woodwork either Brad Treliving’s background check was either woefully insufficient or he didn’t care what he heard. Personally, I’d like to see the Flames commit to some concrete ways they’ll be working to improve their culture rather than just hand-waving this all away. We’ll see.
  • The game gets going at 7pm, and you can catch it on Sportsnet and TVA Sports.

Here are some stats for tonight’s matchup from NHL.com and Natural Stat Trick:

Team Stats

Ottawa Senators Philadelphia Flyers
Ottawa Senators Philadelphia Flyers
# Rank # Rank
Goals/GP 2.62 24th 3.07 13th
Goals against/GP 3.10 20th 2.66 6th
Shots/GP 30.2 22nd 32.8 10th
Shots against/GP 32.3 22nd 28.9 4th
Powerplay % 9.9 31st 18.6 17th
Penalty Kill % 82.1 14th 84.1 10th
Corsi % (5v5, Score and Venue Adjusted) 48.39 23rd 51.97 7th
Fenwick % (5v5, SVA) 49.36 17th 50.78 11th