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Senators-Flames Preview

GAME: Ottawa Senators (21-4-1) at Calgary Flames (17-9-4).

TIME: Saturday, 10 p.m. EST.

The Ottawa Senators hope their top line of Daniel Alfredsson, Jason Spezza and Dany Heatley can overcome their first slump of the season as they continue their three-game Western road trip against the Calgary Flames.

For the first time since being put together early in the season, the Senators' top line has struggled in consecutive games, totaling just one goal and one assist.

Despite the lack of offense, Ottawa still was able to take three of a possible four points.

The trio did not register a point in a 3-2 shootout loss Friday against the Vancouver Canucks. Dominik Hasek made 36 saves in regulation and overtime but failed to stop Daniel Sedin in the fourth round of the shootout.

The Senators were undisciplined and had to kill off a season-high 13 power-play opportunities for Vancouver while getting outshot, 38-26. Defenseman Wade Redden, who has missed the last seven games with a sprained left knee, is questionable for this game.

"It's a tough one," said Ottawa defenseman Zdeno Charr. "We spent almost half of the game killing penalties. It's really hard to play when you're killing so much. You spend so much energy killing penalties and when you have time to get to attack, there's not much left."

Calgary gained seven of 10 points on a five-game road trip and is coming off a 4-1 victory Thursday against the New Jersey Devils.

Jarome Iginla ended a nine-game goalless streak with two goals and an assist for the Flames, who had a season-high three power-play goals en route to their 13th win in 17 games (13-2-2).

"I had been thinking about it," Iginla said about not scoring since Nov. 14. "I love to score goals. You think about our last game, a 1-0 loss. When you win, you shrug it off. It's in the close losses that you really feel it."

The two-time Maurice "Rocket" Richard Trophy winner's lone goal at home against Ottawa came nearly 10 years ago to the day - Dec. 10, 1996.

Flames goaltender Miikka Kiprusoff has allowed two goals or fewer in his last six starts and is 9-1-1 with a 1.62 goals-against average and .936 save percentage in his last 11 home starts.

Calgary is just 1-5-1 in its last seven games against Ottawa.

STANDINGS (through Dec. 9): Senators - 43 points, 1st place, Northeast Division. Flames - 38 points, 1st place (tied), Northwest Division.

TEAM LEADERS: Senators - Alfredsson, 21 goals; Spezza, 32 assists and 43 points; Zdeno Chara, 74 PIM. Flames - Iginla, 13 goals, 14 assists and 27 points; Jason Wiemer, 51 PIM.

SPECIAL TEAMS (through Dec. 9): Senators - Power play: 21.6 percent (35 for 162), 2nd in NHL. Penalty killing: 86.7 percent (150 for 173), 4th. Flames - Power play: 15.6 percent (29 for 185), 22nd. Penalty killing: 81.8 percent (149 for 182), 20th.

GOALTENDERS: Senators - Hasek (15-4-1, 3 SO, 1.99 GAA); Ray Emery (6-0-0, 1, 2.30). Flames - Kiprusoff (14-8-4, 4, 2.19); Philippe Sauve (3-1-0, 0, 2.32).

2003-04 SEASON SERIES: Tied, 1-1.

LAST MEETING: March 11, 2004; Flames, 4-2. At Calgary, Alberta, Ville Nieminen snapped a 2-2 tie with 10:44 to play in the third period and Kiprusoff turned aside 21 shots for the win.

ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Senators - 9-2-1 on the road; Flames - 10-2-2 at home.

Associated Press
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