Flames Game Day
Game Day: Senators Another Must Win … No, Really
The Calgary Flames have 16 games left and can’t afford to lose many (maybe any) if they have a shot at making the NHL playoffs this season. The Ottawa Senators are next up Sunday night.
Calgary Flames head coach Darryl Sutter has joked for about four or five games now that the team needs to win every game to make the playoffs.
Or something like that.
Well, we're getting close to that being the reality. And even then they probably need some help from Winnipeg and/or Nashville. With 16 game remaining until the top 16 teams in the NHL are set, the Calgary Flames (29-24-13) host the Ottawa Senators (33-28-4) Sunday evening at the Saddledome. And if you think the Senators are an underdog, you haven't been paying attention.
Brady Tkachuk and Tim Stuzle lead a young and talented Senators team with some sandpaper and plenty of skill.
"They're battling hard. They're really fighting to get in that playoff position and they're playing with a lot of emotion," Calgary Flames winger Dillon Dube told reporters on Sunday after an optional morning skate. "I think we need to match that tonight with our start. It's going to be a battle tonight for both teams. There's going to be a lot of emotion from both groups and we need to match theirs."
Dube has new linemates after moving from the top line left flank to fourth-line centre last week. He's now on the second line on the right side with Jonathan Huberdeau moving back to his natural left-winger spot and Nazem Kadri between them.
A crushing loss to Anaheim on Friday and a win by the Jets on Saturday has the Flames six points behind the final wildcard spot in the Western Conference. The Predators are above them in the standings, too, even after selling key pieces at the NHL trade deadline.
Jacob Markstrom, the team's best player in the last five games, gets the start again. The Sens are starting Kevin Mandolese.
Calgary Flames projected lineup
Jakob Pelletier – Elias Lindholm – Tyler Toffoli
Jonathan Huberdeau – Nazem Kadri – Dillon Dube
Andrew Mangiapane – Mikael Backlund – Blake Coleman
Milan Lucic – Adam Ruzicka* – Walker Duehr
MacKenzie Weegar – Rasmus Andersson
Noah Hanifin – Chris Tanev
Nikita Zadorov – Troy Stecher
*Ruzicka suggested he may not in the lineup despite practicing as fourth-line centre on Saturday, which could mean Trevor Lewis remaining in that spot
Ottawa Senators projected lineup
Brady Tkachuk — Tim Stützle — Claude Giroux
Alex DeBrincat — Shane Pinto — Drake Batherson
Mathieu Joseph — Dylan Gambrell — Julien Gauthier
Parker Kelly — Mark Kastelic — Austin Watson
Thomas Chabot — Artem Zub
Jake Sanderson — Travis Hamonic
Jakob Chychrun — Erik Brannstrom