Senators-Flames Preview

BY foxsports • February 26, 2016

The Ottawa Senators have little room for error in their quest to reach the playoffs.

Following a demoralizing defeat, the visiting Senators are at risk of suffering another one Saturday night if they don't take care of the lowly Calgary Flames.

Leading by one goal after two periods Thursday, Ottawa (29-27-6) was in position to claim a season-high fifth consecutive victory before Vancouver scored all three goals in the third to win 5-3.

''It's very frustrating,'' said forward Mark Stone, who has nine goals in 12 games this month. ''We had a one-goal lead on the road. Can't ask for much more.''

Though the Senators are 12th in the Eastern Conference, they're very much within striking distance of the final wild-card spot. However, they can't afford games to slip away down the stretch.

"There's that fine line this time of year," coach Dave Cameron said.

Jean-Gabriel Pageau and Dion Phaneuf each had two assists for the Senators, who yielded 28 shots in the final two periods and were outshot for the sixth game in a row.

Ottawa lost four straight on the road before opening this three-game trip through Western Canada with Tuesday's 4-1 win at Edmonton, the only West team with fewer points than the Flames (26-30-4).

"We've got to win," Stone told the NHL's official website. "I don't think we thought we were going to win the next 20 games, but one game at a time, we need to start winning.

"Heading into Calgary, we need to throw this one away. Other teams are winning; we've got to find a way, too."

The Senators also blew a one-goal lead after two periods against the Flames on Oct. 28 before winning 5-4 in a shootout.

Ottawa has lost two straight and seven of eight at Calgary, but the Flames have dropped six of seven overall after Thursday's 2-1 overtime defeat to the New York Islanders. Calgary has totaled four goals during a three-game losing streak, one shy of a season high.

"Regardless of our situation we're still trying to win games," forward Brandon Bollig said. "At this point with our situation, everyone is playing with pride. There's a matter of professionalism. ... Try to win as many games as we can."

Calgary's Jiri Hudler, the subject of trade rumors leading up to Monday's deadline, recorded a third point in as many games with his 10th goal Thursday. The veteran forward has five goals and eight assists in his last 15 games.

Hudler has seven assists in five contests against the Senators since joining the Flames in 2012-13.

Also mentioned in trade talks, defenseman Kris Russell could return after missing the last six games with a lower-body injury.

"This is the time of the year; it doesn't change anything with our day-to-day business," coach Bob Hartley said about dealing with trade speculation. "We have games to win."

Ottawa's Craig Anderson allowed six goals during a four-game winning streak prior to yielding four against the Canucks. He has given up four goals in four straight starts against the Flames but beat them in October with 34 saves.

Senators veteran Kyle Turris had a goal and an assist that day and has seven points in these teams' last five meetings, but he's on a 14-game point drought.

These are the league's worst penalty-killing teams, with Ottawa at 74.6 percent and Calgary 73.6. The Flames' last nine opponents are 14 for 38 (36.8 percent) on the power play.

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