Game 48 Preview and Open Thread: Calgary Flames at Ottawa Senators
Ottawa heads into the all-star break with a Saturday afternoon matinée against Calgary
This has been the quietest nine-game losing streak in Ottawa Senators history. It has the potential to stretch to 10 tonight.
This certainly isn’t the way that D.J. Smith would’ve wanted this middle portion of the season to go, but the Senators teams of the last three teams have generally floundered in December and January, and despite a coaching change, a more diminished roster has led to similar results.
We know the energy will be there tonight, especially for Brady Tkachuk. With Matthew arriving in Ottawa for his one visit a season, expect #7 to have an engaged game tonight. Here’s how we can expect the Sens to lineup, with Jean-Gabriel Pageau listed as a game-time decision and Marcus Hogberg likely in net:
Namestnikov - Tierney - Brown
Ennis - White - Batherson
Balcers - Chlapik - Sabourin
Chabot - Hainsey
Borowiecki - Zaitsev
Reilly - DeMelo
The Sens will be facing a relatively healthy Flames squad, with only Juuso Valimaki listed on the injury reserve. They haven’t announced their starting goaltender yet either, but both David Rittich and Cam Talbot have had solid years. Here’s what you can expect:
Gaudreau - Monahan - Backlund
Lucic - Ryan - Dube
Bennett - Jankowski - Reider
Giordano - Brodie
Hanifin - Hamonic
Kylington - Andersson
- After cruising through the regular season last year en route to 107 points and the top seed in the Pacific, the Flames have had a tumultuous year. They’re the Pacific Division’s top team with 57 points, but are within two points of Arizona (57), Vancouver (56), Vegas (56), and Edmonton (55). It’ll be fascinating to watch them duke it out down the stretch.
- They feature four legitimate top-six players in Elias Lindholm, Matthew Tkachuk, Johnny Gaudreau, and Sean Monahan, along with a steady skill-matched defence corps with the defensively oriented T.J. Brodie and Mark Giordano on one-pair, and the more offensive Travis Hamonic and Noah Hanifin on another.
- While they’re likely comfortable with the younger Oliver Kylington and Rasmus Andersson on the third-pair, especially with the latter re-signing last week to a six-year, $4.55M/per extension, they’ll likely be looking to add at forward come the trade deadline, with Mangiapane, Ryan, and Backlund better off in top-nine roles on a contending team.
- On Ottawa’s end, we have another look at what this team would look like without Jean-Gabriel Pageau. Don’t get too scared at the thought of “Artem Anisimov, #1 centre!” because you’d presume that Logan Brown, Colin White, or even Josh Norris would be ready to step into regular top-six minutes, but it’s certainly a different look.
- I would’ve liked to see Rudolfs Balcers in Namestnikov’s spot alongside Chris Tierney, but Names had a great game last time out and is a trade deadline candidate. Getting him on a little hot streak may help Pierre Dorion (and the team) get a little more out of him before he departs.
- It’s also interesting that with Nikita Zaitsev’s return, Thomas Chabot has lined up alongside Ron Hainsey. Chabot’s going to play with everyone, but Smith seemed to glue those two together earlier this year... to disastrous results. Ottawa has four more years of Zaitsev under contract. /
Here are some stats, via NHL.com and Natural Stat Trick.
|Goals||Anthony Duclair||21||Elias Lindholm||20|
|Assists||Thomas Chabot||23||Johnny Gaudreau||25|
|Points||Anthony Duclair||32||Matthew Tkachuk, Johnny Gaudreau||38|
|Shots||Brady Tkachuk||167||Johnny Gaudreau||141|
|Time On Ice||Thomas Chabot||26:34||Mark Giordano||24:11|
|Penalty Kill %||80.8||15th||83.0||7th|
|Corsi % (5v5, Score and Venue Adjusted)||47.23||28th||50.2||13th|
|Fenwick % (5v5, SVA)||47.99||25th||49.48||17th|