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Flames continue long trip in Ottawa

by John Kreiser

FLAMES (18-16-4) at SENATORS (17-15-5)


LAST 10: Calgary 5-3-2; Ottawa 4-4-2

Season Series: It's the second of two meetings between the interconference Canadian rivals. Ottawa won 3-1 at the Scotiabank Saddledome in Calgary on Nov. 15. It was only the second win for the Senators in their last 10 meetings with Calgary.

Big Story: The Flames continue their seven-game trip with a stop in Ottawa after having their four-game winning streak snapped Thursday on Long Island. The Senators have had a couple of days to get rid of the bad taste from Tuesday's 6-2 home loss to Montreal.

Team Scope:

Flames: Maybe it was the fact that they scored a quick goal without having to work hard -- Tim Jackman had a puck carom off him and into the net 1:11 into the game -- but the Flames were outworked for most of the night by the Islanders. Miikka Kiprusoff kept them in the game with 31 saves, several of them spectacular, but it wasn't enough.

"Maybe that was a bad thing," said center Brendan Morrison, whose assist on Jackman's goal was his 600th NHL point. "Maybe we thought it was going to be an easy night. I don't know."

Senators: Erik Condra, a seventh-round pick in 2006, is quietly making a place for himself in Ottawa. He's scored six times and has 12 points in 36 games -- not bad for a bottom-six forward who's earned a promotion to the second line with Kyle Turris and Nick Foligno, a pair of first-rounders.

"He seems to make any line he plays on a pretty good line," Senators coach Paul MacLean said of Condra, who's in his first full season in Ottawa. "He's the kind of player you could say is the conscience of the line. He's always in a good spot defensively, always puts the puck in a good spot, does a good job on the boards and plays well defensively.

"So he's the kind of player who can play with anybody and play well."

Who's Hot: Kiprusoff is 3-1-0 in his last four games and has allowed just six goals in that span. … Defenseman Erik Karlsson has seven points in his last five games for Ottawa and is second in the NHL with 29 assists.

Injury Report: Flames defenseman Derek Smith left in the second period Thursday with a lower-body injury and didn't return. Alex Tanguay (upper body) did not make the trip. Matt Stajan (ankle) is still on the mend after missing five games. Mark Giordano (hamstring) is skating and making progress but has no set return date. Backup goalie Henrik Karlsson (knee) will soon start skating with a brace, while Anton Babchuk (broken hand) has been cleared to play but has yet to get back into the lineup. … Ottawa is without forwards Peter Regin (shoulder) and Jesse Winchester (concussion).

Stat Pack: Don't be surprised if there are a few goals scored in the third period. Ottawa leads the NHL with 51 third-period goals -- but has allowed 49, more than any team except Carolina. One reason: The Senators allow 31.6 shots against per game, the third-highest total in the League.

Pick Drop: The Senators added to their talent pool on Thursday by signing two of their three first-round picks in last June's draft. Stefan Noesen was taken 21st and Matt Puempel went three picks later. They join Mika Zibanejad, the sixth player taken, who signed in July.

"It's always good to get your picks signed," GM Bryan Murray said via conference call from Edmonton, where he's taking in the World Junior Championship. "There's different times for different picks, but I think the timing was right for these two guys. Development is real important and if you don't do it right, good players fall through the cracks."

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