PREVIEW: After dominating each other, Ottawa Senators and Calgary Flames go at it again

By Field Level Media
Feb 27, 2021; Ottawa, Ontario, CAN; Calgary Flamesleft wing Andrew Mangiapane (88) chases Ottawa Senators right wing Drake Batherson (19) in the third period at the Canadian Tire Centre. Mandatory Credit: Marc DesRosiers-USA TODAY Sports

With their three-game winning streak snapped by the Calgary Flames on Saturday, the Ottawa Senators expect much better of themselves when they meet again on Monday.

The Senators, who will be hosting the Flames for a third straight game, were overwhelmed right from puck drop in a 6-3 loss Saturday afternoon and are vowing to put forth a better performance this time. Of course, two nights earlier, they had the better of a 6-1 victory over Calgary.

Related: If you’re a fan of the Senators, check out #Sens rumors, rankings, and news here.

“You forget how hard it is to win in the NHL,” Ottawa coach D.J. Smith said. “There are desperate teams out there (looking) for points and it should be a good learning lesson for us. You have to work every single shift, every period, if you want to win games in this league.”

The Senators sit last in the North Division but have some positive notes. Among them is the emergence of Drake Batherson, who has scored in five consecutive games, one short of the franchise record.

“I think we’re just jelling as a team, overall,” Batherson said. “I’ve been getting some looks, creating some chemistry with (Tim Stutzle) and whoever’s been playing center with us. Hopefully we can keep building off that. I’ve been getting shots all season, but they seem to be going in now, so I’ll keep shooting.”

Also, forward Ryan Dzingel — who was reacquired via trade on Feb. 13 — has finished his quarantine and practiced with the team Sunday. He isn’t expected to play until Thursday’s clash in Calgary following a Tuesday game in Montreal, but it was a big step forward.

Dzingel scored 22 goals in 57 games for Ottawa in 2018-19 before being traded away, but has only managed 14 goals in 96 contests since.

“It’s been a long time since I was excited and nervous about practice,” Dzingel said. “I can’t wait to get on the ice and get things going for a real game. It’s been 16 days and I’m itching to get out there.”

The Flames, meantime, look to springboard their game from Saturday’s solid performance, although they’ve been notorious for false starts this season and an inability to string together a winning streak. They haven’t won consecutive games since Feb. 9-11.

Related: If you’re a fan of the Flames, check out #NHLFlames rumors, rankings, and news here.

“We’re building. We’re trending in the right direction,” forward Andrew Mangiapane said. “Next game we’re going to have to keep building on it. It’s not going to all just change in one game or anything like that. It’s a build. Every time you get out there, you’re building. You’re building on your last shift, you’re building on your last game.”

Key for the Flames will be to not let in-game setbacks spiral out of control, which is something the they have struggled with many times this season. Coach Geoff Ward’s job is as much about keeping his players confident as much as the Xs and Os.

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“You look at the stretch, it’s 2-1-1 and with everything everybody’s been feeling, it’s feels like it’s been 0-5,” Ward said. “You’ve got to keep everything in perspective. It’s not always what happens, it’s how you react to it that’s most important. Now, all we’re worried about it putting a good game on the ice on Monday. If we can do that and come off the road, we’ll go from there.”

The Flames may have number-one goalie Jacob Markstrom at their disposal. Markstrom has missed the last four games due to an upper-body injury. He had a short session prior to Sunday’s practice, and is listed as day-to-day.

–Field Level Media