Preview: Senators at Flames
The off-ice turmoil surrounding the Calgary Flames came to a head Friday when Bill Peters resigned as head coach, a move that occurred days after he was accused of directing a racial slur at a player in the minors a decade ago. The Flames will play their first home game under interim coach Geoff Ward against the Ottawa Senators on Saturday afternoon.
“It’s been a difficult time, but we are going to move forward," Calgary general manager Brad Treliving said in announcing the resignation of Peters. “I met with our players this morning and we are ready to move beyond this and focus on the game on the ice.” The Flames had lost six in a row before closing out a four-game road trip by winning two of three, including a 3-2 win at Buffalo on Wednesday in which Ward guided the team in place of Peters. Ottawa had won three straight and five of six but has scored only three times during a three-game skid following a 7-2 drubbing at Minnesota in the opener of a five-game trek. Senators forward Brady Tkachuk, who scored in Friday's setback, has lost both career matchups against older brother Matthew and Calgary last season.
TV: 7 p.m. ET, Sportsnet West (Calgary), TVAS, Sportsnet 360, CITY (Ottawa)
ABOUT THE SENATORS (11-14-1): Ottawa surrendered only eight goals in its previous five games before it was scorched for seven tallies over the final two periods in Minnesota to fall to 4-9-1 away from home. With netminder Craig Anderson on injured reserve and Anders Nilsson turning in a rare clunker by giving up seven goals Friday, rookie Marcus Hogberg could make his season debut against Calgary. Hogberg has made four career starts -- all with the Senators last season -- and is 0-2-1 with a 4.09 goals-against average.
ABOUT THE FLAMES (12-12-4): Ward, who served as an associate coach under Peters, does not plan any wholesale changes to get Calgary back on track. "We're not going to implement huge changes. Our players know how to play the game," Ward said. "Right now we want to keep it the same for the players as much as we can. Our focus right now is preparing to play the Ottawa Senators tomorrow. All the other stuff has to stay in the background." Elias Lindholm has scored in two of his last three following an eight-game drought.
1. Flames F Johnny Gaudreau has 10 points (three goals, seven assists) in 10 games versus the Senators.
2. Ottawa's league-worst power play has converted on 8 of 84 chances.
3. Calgary is 2-for-24 with the man advantage over the last nine games.
PREDICTION: Flames 5, Senators 2