Tuesday, November 15th, 2011

Tuesday, November 15th, 2011

Game Day: OTTAWA @ CALGARY

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Tuesday, November 15th, 2011

9:00 pm

Rogers Sportsnet, Team 1200

T-9th East (8-9-1) @12th West (7-8-1)

The streaky Ottawa Senators hope to build on a win over the Toronto Maple Leafs and create a new winning streak as they face the Calgary Flames at the Saddledome.  As streaky as the Senators have been, the Flames have been the opposite.  They haven’t put together a winning streak or a losing streak longer than 2 games all season.

Despite the very similar record of the clubs, they play an entirely different style.  While the Senators play in some of the highest scoring games (6.55 total goals per game), the Flames rely on keeping the score down in their games (4.81 goals per game).  Mikka Kiprusoff is once again carrying the bulk of the load in the Flames’ net, and he has been playing his usual strong game. However, goal support is an issue as the Flames try to work out the kinks in thier lineup.  It hasn’t been smooth sailing up front for the Flames, as they allowed Nicklas Hagman to be claimed on re-entry waivers and have had trouble fitting Matt Stajan into a suitable spot in the lineup.  Alex Tanguay has been the Flames’ top forward, and Michael Backlund has assumed the #1 centre role between him and Jarome Iginla, at least for now.   The Flames held on to win their last match 4-3 over Colorado, staving off a third period comeback attempt by the Avalanche.   

For the Senators, Chris Neil is out of the lineup once again and will likely miss the rest of the trip.  It looks like Brian Lee will be in the lineup with David Rundblad as a healthy scratch.  Craig Anderson will be between the pipes and hopes to build on a strong game in Toronto.

PLAYERS TO WATCH

Milan Michalek, LW (OTT) – Michalek is on pace to score 50 goals, which would destroy his career high of 26.  Scoring 50 would make Dany Heatley a distant memory and finally legitimize the trade that shipped Heatley out of town.  Michalek has 10 goals in 21 career games against the Flames, mostly as a member of the Sharks.

Jarome Iginla, RW (CGY) – The Flames’ captain is off to his traditionally slow start, but still leads the club in goal scoring (along with Rene Bourgue) with 5.  The power forward is still a dangerous player, especially when he is aggrivated early in a game.  He will be a handful for the young, undersized defensemen on the Senators roster who might not have their strength fully developed yet.

3 KEYS TO A SENATORS VICTORY

1. Let Sleeping Iginla lie – Iginla is at his best when he gets tested early on. If the Senators can leave him alone for the most part and not get him agitated, he might just coast through the game.  Get him upset and he can take the game over.

2.  Secondary Scoring –  The win over Toronto saw a lot of secondary scoring help, from the likes of Nick Foligno and Zack Smith.  Hopefully this is a sign of things to come and Ottawa can become a more balanced offense, taking the pressure off the likes of Jason Spezza and Milan Michalek.

3.   Craig Anderson – Needs to provide consistent goaltending, and it begins with giving the Senators a second straight strong performance.  After the debacle in Buffalo, he got on the right foot in TO, but he needs to put a string of them together for the Senators to have any success.

ONE FINAL NOTE

It has been almost 10 years since Daniel Alfredsson has scored a goal agains the Flames, his longest drought chronologically (and 2nd longest in terms of games played) against any team.  His last goal against Calgary was Nov 22, 2001, 10 games ago.  The longest scoring drought in terms of games for the captain is against New Jersey, who he hasn’t scored on in 12 games.

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