The Calgary Flames (44-21-7) have gone from missing the playoffs last year to first place in the Western Conference this year. The Ottawa Senators (25-41-6), meanwhile, have gone from bad to worse in the East. They’ll meet Thursday night at the Saddledome; Sportsnet West and TSN5 have the coverage at 9 PM ET.
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As well as the Flames have played this year, they’ve had a difficult March at 3-5. They haven’t gotten very good goaltending from former No. 1 Mike Smith (.896 save percentage), who was responsible for three of those losses. David Rittich (.910 SV%), last year’s back-up, has held the fort for Calgary, who rank fourth in the league in scoring at 3.56 goals per game.
Ottawa’s season went south from the beginning, and it’s only gotten worse – the Senators have lost 10 of their last 13 games to sink to the bottom of the league standings. All three of their top scorers, Mark Stone, Matt Duchene and Ryan Dzingel, were sent packing at the trade deadline, while head coach Guy Boucher was dismissed on March 1 and replaced on an interim basis by assistant Marc Crawford. The Sens were officially eliminated from the playoffs eight days later.
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