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Senators aim to bounce back vs. Flames

by John Kreiser

SENATORS (27-24-11) at FLAMES (23-31-7)


Last 10: Ottawa 5-4-1; Calgary 6-4-0

Season series: The Ottawa Senators and Calgary Flames are playing for the first time since Dec. 30, 2011, when the Senators won 4-3 in a shootout at Canadian Tire Centre. The teams complete their series on March 30 in Ottawa.

Big story: The Senators will try to avoid a two-game sweep in Alberta after losing 3-2 to the Edmonton Oilers on Tuesday and falling further behind in the race for a playoff berth in the Eastern Conference. They begin the night four points out of a playoff berth. The Flames, whose hopes of making the Stanley Cup Playoffs ended a while ago, are back home after a 3-2 loss to the Minnesota Wild on Monday.

Team Scope:

Senators: Ottawa desperately needed two points when it took the ice in Edmonton on Tuesday. Instead, the Senators came away with nothing after a frustrating loss to the Oilers, the last-place team in the Western Conference.

"We started well and then we started trading chances with them and we really couldn't keep up," said defenseman Erik Karlsson, whose goal with 2:55 remaining cut the deficit to one. "Their goalie obviously made some huge saves for them and we couldn't put it in the net obviously. I think we could have played a little bit smarter."

Flames: The loss to the Wild took a back seat Tuesday to speculation about what the team might do before the NHL Trade Deadline, with president of hockey operations Brian Burke saying he'd prefer to be a buyer rather than a seller.

"I think we are in a good position to improve our team moving forward," he said Tuesday. "We're probably more in the long-term, but yes. I would much rather be buying than selling.

"I hope to be up here in a year talking about buying players, not selling players."

Should Burke move some of his veterans, he would open the way for youngsters such as 2011 first-round pick Sven Baertschi, who was sent down to the minors after getting off to a disappointing start in Calgary.

"His goal totals are disappointing for a player of his skill level," Burke said of Baertschi, "but he's learning to do a lot of other things well that are vital if he wants to play here. In terms of playing in all three zones, in terms of playing hard for 60 minutes, he's made dramatic improvement."

Joni Ortio is expected to make his second NHL start in goal.

Who's hot: Karlsson leads all NHL defensemen in goals (17) and points (57). He has goals in back-to-back games. … Flames defenseman Mark Giordano had his 10th goal of the season in the loss at Minnesota; he's one short of his career high.

Injury report: The Flames are without goaltender Karri Ramo (knee), as well as forwards Curtis Glencross (ankle), Kevin Westgarth (concussion) and David Jones (upper body).

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