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Back in playoff position, Flames host Senators

by Brian Hunter /

SENATORS (17-29-8) at FLAMES (27-21-7)


Last 10:
Ottawa 0-8-2; Calgary 7-1-2

Season series: Second and final meeting of the season between these teams. David Moss scored twice in a three-goal second period and Calgary held on for a 3-2 win in Ottawa on Jan. 14. Rookie goaltender Henrik Karlsson turned aside 32 shots.

Big story: You would be hard pressed to find two teams going through fortunes more drastically different than the Flames and Senators. Ottawa has dropped 10 in a row and has one win in its last 17 games. Calgary, on the other hand, has shot all the way up from near the bottom of the Western Conference into eighth place by winning seven of its last eight.

Team Scope:

Senators: When a team is trying to snap out of a lengthy skid, a road game against NHL-leading Vancouver is probably the last thing it needs. Ottawa made a solid comeback effort Monday, however, getting goals by Nick Foligno and Jason Spezza less than two minutes apart in the second period to trim a 3-0 deficit down to a single goal. That was where the rally stalled, though, and Mikael Samuelsson's second of the night into an empty net sealed the Senators' 4-2 defeat.

"We've just got to figure out what we did well the second half of the game and bring that to our next game," Spezza said.

"But it doesn't make this one any easier. We're not getting the wins and we've just got to find a way to start getting them. It's frustrating."

Flames: Bouncing right back after its six-game winning streak was snapped by Los Angeles on Saturday in a shootout, Calgary took a hard-fought, 3-1 decision Monday against the defending Stanley Cup champion, Chicago, a team also fighting for one of the final playoff berths in the West. Curtis Glencross snapped a tie midway through the third period and the Flames found themselves above the postseason cutoff for the first time since late October.

"It's a great accomplishment for us," Glencross said. "We put ourselves in a hole early in the year and we've bounced back. We've had some adversity and we've shown a lot of courage to come back."

Who's hot: Alex Kovalev had scored in three straight games for the Senators prior to Monday. ... Flames goalie Miikka Kiprusoff is 6-0-1 in his last seven starts. He hasn't allowed more than three goals and has given up two or fewer five times.

Injury report: Ottawa defenseman Matt Carkner missed Monday's game with a lower-body injury. Goalie Pascal Leclaire is out indefinitely with a lower-body injury. ... Calgary forward Niklas Hagman missed Monday's game with a lower-body injury, while defenseman Adam Pardy left in the second period with an upper-body injury. Forwards Daymond Langkow (neck) and Raitis Ivanans (concussion) are on injured reserve.

Stat pack: Despite missing 20 games this season, Spezza is still tied for fifth on the Senators in scoring with 22 points. Daniel Alfredsson leads the team with 31 points and 7 power-play goals. ... The Flames lead the NHL with seven shootout wins and have had 12 games decided via the penalty-shot tiebreaker, also tops in the League.

Puck drop: Over the past 20 games, Calgary has lost only three times in regulation (13-3-4).

"It was tough days in here, we lost a few too many games in the fall and we were struggling, but we never stopped believing in ourselves and we always kept working," said Mikael Backlund, who opened the scoring Monday. "Lately we've been playing really good hockey consistently and it feels really good to be back in the playoffs again."

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