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Preview: Senators at Flames

Calgary goaltender Brian Elliott improving after slow start, will go against Andrew Hammond of Ottawa

by Aaron Vickers / NHL.com Correspondent

SENATORS (4-2-0) at FLAMES (3-4-1)

9 p.m. ET; SNF, RDS2, TSN5, NHL.TV

 

Senators team scope

Goaltender Andrew Hammond will start for the Ottawa Senators in the second game of a three-game road trip through Western Canada after Craig Anderson was granted an indefinite leave of absence to deal with a personal matter. "There's a lot of things bigger in life than hockey," Hammond said. "At the end of the day, this is a game. It's something we all take very seriously, but there are also things in life that are much more important to us. This is an example of that." Hammond hasn't started since making his only appearance of the season in a 5-1 loss at the Detroit Red Wings on Oct. 17. "He knew he was going to play in the next games," Senators coach Guy Boucher said. "He was getting ready for that. It's maybe a game earlier than we thought, but he's been putting in a lot of work with the goalie coach." Hammond went 20-1-2 with a 1.79 goals against average and .941 save percentage when thrust into the starter's role in 2014-15. He had a record of 7-11-1 last season. "As I've learned through my career, things change fast," Hammond said. "You need to be ready. You have to make sure your habits in practice are good. I feel like I've continued with that, even though it's been a little while since I've played. For me it's just an exciting opportunity to play a game, but my approach doesn't change."

 

Flames team scope

Goaltender Brian Elliott will make his third consecutive start for the Calgary Flames. Elliott stopped 54 of 57 shots in back-to-back wins against the Chicago Blackhawks and St. Louis Blues on Monday and Tuesday. "The last two games, he's been unbelievable," Flames forward Sam Bennett said. "He kept us in both those games. He was our best player." Elliott started the season 0-3-0 with a 4.72 goals-against average and .839 save percentage, but has improved to 2-3-0, 3.37 and .882. "This is a veteran guy who has won a lot of games in the League and has been in a lot of pressure situations and responded," Calgary coach Glen Gulutzan said. "He knows how to manage the ebbs and flows. I would think now that his mindset would be in a good spot after his last couple of outings." Forward Alex Chiasson will play against the Senators for the first time since being traded to the Flames on June 27. He had 40 points (19 goals, 21 assists) in 153 games with Ottawa. "I'll always appreciate my time there," Chiasson said. "It was close to home. Family and friends were able to come. Great group of guys. It'd be nice to get a couple against my old team, for sure." 

 

Senators projected lineup

Mike Hoffman -- Kyle Turris -- Mark Stone

Zack Smith -- Derick Brassard -- Bobby Ryan

Ryan Dzingel -- Jean-Gabriel Pageau -- Tom Pyatt

Matt Puempel -- Chris Kelly -- Chris Neil

Marc Methot -- Erik Karlsson

Dion Phaneuf -- Cody Ceci

Mark Borowiecki -- Chris Wideman

Andrew Hammond

Chris Driedger

Scratched: Thomas Chabot

Injured: Clarke MacArthur (concussion)

 

Flames projected lineup

Johnny Gaudreau -- Sean Monahan -- Alex Chiasson

Kris Versteeg -- Sam Bennett -- Troy Brouwer

Matthew Tkachuk -- Mikael Backlund -- Michael Frolik

Lance Bouma -- Matt Stajan -- Micheal Ferland

Mark Giordano -- Dennis Wideman

TJ Brodie -- Deryk Engelland

Jyrki Jokipakka -- Dougie Hamilton

Brian Elliott

Chad Johnson

Scratched: Brett Kulak, Nicklas Grossmann, Freddie Hamilton

Injured: Ladislav Smid (neck)


Status report 

Chabot, the No. 18 pick in the 2015 NHL Draft, is expected to be a healthy scratch for the sixth time in seven games. Driedger was recalled from Binghamton of the American Hockey League on Thursday. … The Flames held an optional skate Friday. … Jokipakka is expected to dress in place of Grossmann after being scratched against St. Louis on Tuesday. Brouwer, who left practice early on Thursday because of maintenance, is expected to play. 


Who's hot 

Karlsson has two goals and five assists in six games this season. Methot is tied for third in the NHL with a plus-8 rating. Dzingel has four goals in five games. … Bennett has two goals and three assists in his past three games. Ferland has one goal and two assists in his past three games. Brouwer has one goal and three assists during a four-game point streak.

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