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Senators at Flames preview

Rittich to make sixth straight start for Calgary; Ottawa tries to avoid fourth consecutive loss

by Aaron Vickers / Independent Correspondent

SENATORS (11-14-1) at FLAMES (12-12-4)

7 p.m. ET; SN360, CITY, SNW, TVAS, NHL.TV 


The Game

David Rittich is expected to make his sixth straight start and NHL-leading 23rd when the Calgary Flames host the Ottawa Senators at Scotiabank Saddledome on Saturday.

Rittich is 11-7-4 with a 2.76 goals-against average and .913 save percentage for the Flames, 2-0-1 in their past three games following a six-game losing streak (0-5-1).

Geoff Ward will be behind the Calgary bench for the first time after being named coach to replace Bill Peters, who resigned Friday, three days after the NHL and Flames announced they were investigating a claim Peters directed a racial slur at a player while coaching in the American Hockey League during the 2009-10 season.

Ward, who had been Calgary associate coach, filled in for Peters in a 3-2 overtime win at the Buffalo Sabres on Wednesday.

The Senators have lost three straight, outscored 10-3, after going 5-1-0 in their previous six games.

Goalie Marcus Hogberg could start for Ottawa after Anders Nilsson made 28 saves in a 7-2 loss at the Minnesota Wild on Friday. 


Players to watch

Senators forward Brady Tkachuk has four points (three goals, one assist) in his past six games. 

Flames forward Matthew Tkachuk has three points (one goal, two assists) in his past two games and 11 points (seven goals, four assists) in 11 home games this season.


They said it

"I think everybody in this room knows what we need to do to win games, or at least be in games. I'm looking forward to seeing how we respond." -- Senators defenseman Dylan DeMelo

"Sometimes adversity that goes on, it's got to bring you closer together and right now we're trying to keep the energy up in the dressing room and obviously on the ice, too, and move forward. That starts with Ottawa." -- Flames center Sean Monahan


Senators projected lineup

Brady Tkachuk -- Logan Brown -- Anthony Duclair

Nick Paul -- Jean-Gabriel Pageau -- Colin White

Vladislav Namestnikov -- Artem Anisimov -- Connor Brown

Filip Chlapik -- Chris Tierney -- J.C. Beaudin

Thomas Chabot -- Ron Hainsey

Mark Borowiecki -- Nikita Zaitsev

Erik Brannstrom -- Dylan DeMelo

Marcus Hogberg

Anders Nilsson

Scratched: J.C. Beaudin, Mikkel Boedker, Maxime Lajoie

Injured: Scott Sabourin (nose), Cody Goloubef (undisclosed), Craig Anderson (undisclosed)


Flames projected lineup

Johnny Gaudreau -- Sean Monahan -- Elias Lindholm

Matthew Tkachuk -- Mikael Backlund -- Andrew Mangiapane

Milan Lucic -- Derek Ryan -- Dillon Dube

Tobias Rieder -- Mark Jankowski -- Michael Frolik

Mark Giordano -- TJ Brodie

Noah Hanifin -- Rasmus Andersson

Oliver Kylington -- Michael Stone

David Rittich

Cam Talbot

Scratched: Alexander Yelesin, Zac Rinaldo

Injured: Sam Bennett (upper body), Austin Czarnik (lower body), Travis Hamonic (lower body)


Status report

Neither team held a morning skate. …Czarnik and Hamonic each practiced with the Flames on Friday, but Ward did not have an update on their availability.  


Stat pack

Pageau has 10 goals in November, three from tying the Ottawa record for goals in one month (Daniel Alfredsson, 13, November 2005). …Gaudreau has three assists in his past nine games. … Monahan will play in his 500th NHL game.

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