The NHL has another busy Saturday night set up to go down on January 18. Twelve games are up on the board throughout Saturday. One of these matchups will be a game between the Calgary Flames and the Ottawa Senators. The Flames have picked up their game as of late, while the Senators have been on a tough losing streak. This game will drop the puck at around 4:00 PM Eastern time.
Calgary has earned a record of 26-18-5 to this point in the season, which has them tied for first place of the Pacific Division with the Arizona Coyotes. The Vancouver Canucks and the Vegas Golden Knights are one point behind the Flames, while the Edmonton Oilers are only two points behind. Calgary has won six of their last seven games coming into this one and will look to keep it up in this one.
The Senators have posted a record of 16-23-8 to this point in the season. Ottawa is in seventh place of the Atlantic Division. The Senators are second worst in the NHL, above only the Detroit Red Wings. Ottawa has lost nine games in a row coming into this matchup and will look to end this tough losing streak with a win against the Flames at home.
These two teams are in opposite positions of the standings at this point in the season. Calgary has climbed back to the top of the Pacific Division after a tough start. The Flames will look to extend their lead on the division, while the Senators are trying to get a hold on this losing streak. I believe that this could be a good game to watch on Saturday night.
The Flames and the Senators met up two times throughout last season. Ottawa hosted the first game of the season series. Austin Czarnik scored the game winner for Calgary in the third period to give the Flames a 2-1 win. Matthew Tkachuk, Garnet Hathaway and Andrew Mangiapane all scored a goal and added an assist in the second game to help Calgary sweep the two game series with a 5-1 win.
Calgary and Ottawa already met up once this season. The Flames hosted the game on November 30. Dillon Dube opened up the scoring, but Jean-Gabriel Pageau tied it up. Elias Lindholm scored twice to ice the game though. Marcus Hogberg stopped 24 of the 26 shots he faced, but it was not enough. David Rittich stopped 26 of the 27 shots he faced to help lead Calgary to a 3-1 win at home.
The Flames have been able to win four games in a row against Ottawa and six of their last seven against them. Calgary has been more competitive over the last few seasons, while the Senators have entered a rebuild. Ottawa is back at the bottom of the standings this season, while the Flames have climbed back closer to the top. If the Senators can put up a solid performance like they did in the first game of this season series, they could pull off the upset though.
Calgary has had a strong start to this season, but their power play has not been great. The Flames have capitalized on 27 of their 143 power play chances, which is an 18.9 percent success rate. Calgary’s penalty kill has been better, holding their opponents to 26 goals on 153 opportunities, which is an 83 percent penalty kill.
The Senators have been doing terrible on the power play to this point in the season. Ottawa’s power play has only been able to score on 17 of their 146 attempts this season, which is an 11.6 percent power play. The Senators penalty kill has been around the league average, allowing opposing teams to score on 30 of their 156 chances, which is an 80.8 percent kill rate.
Neither of these two teams have gotten their power play going this season. I believe that Calgary has a better chance to get their power play going in this one, but if the Senators penalty kill can have a solid performance, they could shut them down. I do not expect special teams to play a huge role in this one, which could go in favor of Ottawa.
I expect David Rittich to get the nod in the crease for Calgary in this matchup. Rittich has started this season with a record of 19-11-5 through 35 starts. In those 35 starts, he has earned a save percentage of .915 and a 2.73 GAA. Rittich’s last start was against the Toronto Maple Leafs, where he stopped 35 of the 36 shots against him in a win.
I believe that Craig Anderson will get the start in net for the Senators on Saturday afternoon. Anderson has posted a record of 6-12-1 through his games this season. He has put up a .897 save percentage and a GAA of 3.32. Anderson’s last start came against the Vegas Golden Knights, where he turned away 39 of the 43 shots he faced in a losing effort.
The Flames have the edge in this matchup with Rittich in net. Rittich has had a save percentage above .940 in his last two starts, but he has three of his last five games. Anderson is currently on a five game losing streak in his starts. I expect Anderson to come out quick in this one to try and end that losing streak. If Anderson can play like he did against the Golden Knights, it could give Ottawa a good chance.
The Senators are coming into this matchup on a nine game losing streak, but I believe that they will have a good chance to end that streak with a win on Saturday afternoon. Ottawa is at home in this game and match up alright with the Flames on special teams. If the Senators can give Anderson a little help and get a good performance out of this one, I think they will pull off the upset.
BetOnline has Calgary listed as a -150 against the money line. This implies that the Flames will win this game around 60 percent of the time. With this game in Ottawa, I think that it could be closer to even. All losing streaks come to an end and with this game being hosted by the Senators, I am taking the home underdogs.