Calgary Flames vs. Ottawa Senators Pick & Prediction JANUARY 9th 2024

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It will be a matchup of teams desperately needing a win when the Calgary Flames play host to the Ottawa Senators on Tuesday.

While the Senators sit last in the Eastern Conference having lost four of their past five games, the Flames return home after a humbling 4-3 loss to the Chicago Blackhawks on Sunday to end a four-game road trip.

Calgary, which is on a two-game skid after dropping weekend afternoon games on consecutive days, only needed to beat the injury-ravaged, cellar-dwelling Blackhawks to take three of four on the trip, which would have been considered a success.

Instead, the inconsistent Flames left the Windy City in disappointment.

“Not good enough,” Calgary captain Mikael Backlund said. “If we want to be a playoff team, that’s a game we’ve got to win, find a way to win. It wasn’t good enough.”

Calgary sits only a couple of points outside a playoff position, with a handful of teams between it and the Edmonton Oilers, who held the Western Conference’s second wild-card spot entering Monday.

All of those teams have games in hand — in fact, the Oilers have played just 36 games compared to Calgary’s 40 — and the Flames know they wasted an opportunity to beat one of the league’s weakest links by looking past them.

Learning the lesson will be a talking point against the free-falling Senators during Calgary’s lone home date before a two-game road trip against the Arizona Coyotes and Vegas Golden Knights.

“They were in a situation that we needed to take advantage of,” Flames coach Ryan Huska said. “We didn’t do what we needed to do.”

The Senators, who have lost the first three outings of a five-game road trip and eight of their past nine road games, come to Calgary after a 3-1 loss to Edmonton on Saturday.

It was something of a moral victory for the Senators, who trailed 2-1 with less than three minutes remaining in regulation.

“We played pretty well,” Ottawa interim coach Jacques Martin said. “They’re a good hockey club, and I think a couple of breakdowns and their special teams made a difference. … Overall, I can’t blame the effort. I think we have to build on this.”

The Senators have three wins in nine games since Martin took the coaching reins after D.J. Smith was fired on Dec. 18. They are the only victories in Ottawa’s past 13 outings, and the disappointment and frustration are having an impact.

Hope for a turnaround in time to make the most of the season, however, remains, even though the Senators had elevated expectations after a strong finish last season.

“You’re never out of it. The (St. Louis) Blues (in 2019) were in a position like this, and they ended up winning the Cup, so, we’ve just got to find a way to turn it around,” Ottawa captain Brady Tkachuk told “Hockey Night in Canada” after the Edmonton loss. “I think we have the belief amongst each other that if we do, we can go on a serious run.”

The Senators are expected to receive a boost with winger Mathieu Joseph slated to return after missing 10 games due to a lower-body injury.

–Field Level Media

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