(SportsNetwork.com) - A pair of potential playoff clubs from each conference will clash in Canada's capital Sunday when the Ottawa Senators host the Calgary Flames at Canadian Tire Centre.
Calgary is one of this season's biggest surprises and has been in the postseason picture out West for the majority of the season. The Senators, meanwhile, have forced their way into the conversation in the Eastern Conference thanks to an impressive surge over the last month.
Ottawa has won two straight and carries an eight-game point streak (7-0-1) into Sunday. The Sens boast a 9-1-2 mark over the last 12 games and find themselves five points behind Boston for the last playoff spot in the East. The Bruins, who host Detroit today, will visit Ottawa on Tuesday.
The Senators picked up their second win in a row Friday against Buffalo, pulling out a 3-2 regulation win to kick off a three-game homestand.
The Sabres held a 2-0 lead after 20 minutes, but the Senators cut the deficit in half in the second stanza with Erik Karlsson's 16th goal of the season. Mika Zibanejad and Mike Stone then scored 1:34 apart early in the third period to help Ottawa eke out the victory over the NHL's last-place club.
"We were way too cute early on, weren't doing the work," said Senators coach Dave Cameron. "I just challenged them to find a way, and they did."
Rookie goaltender Andrew Hammond continued his hot play, upping his record to 7-0-1 thanks to a 24-save effort. Hammond became only the second goaltender in the last 76 years to allow two goals or fewer in each of his first eight NHL starts. Martin Jones performed the feat last year for the Kings.
Hammond could get the call again over veteran Craig Anderson, who has recently suited up as the backup but hasn't played since injuring his hand on Jan. 21.
The Sens are 15-10-5 as the host this season and have won three straight and four of their last five at CTC.
The Flames are holding onto third and final automatic playoff bid from the Pacific Division, where they sit one point ahead of fourth-place Los Angeles. Calgary also is just two behind Vancouver for second place. Both the Canucks and Kings are idle Sunday.
Calgary has won the last three games and hopes to complete its seven-game road trip with yet another victory. The Flames are 4-2-0 on the swing and own a solid 19-13-1 record as the guest.
Jiri Hudler helped the Flames overcome a slow start in Friday's 5-2 victory at Detroit. The former Red Wing finished with two goals, including the go-ahead marker in the latter stages of the second period to help Calgary skate past his old club.
Detroit led 2-0 before the halfway mark of the first period, but Calgary scored five unanswered goals to take control of the contest.
Sean Monahan scored for a third consecutive game and also tallied an assist, while Matt Stajan and Mason Raymond also lit the lamp for the Flames, who were coming off a thrilling 4-3 shootout win over Boston on Thursday.
Jonas Hiller made 33 saves to anchor the win, while defenseman Dennis Wideman added two assists.
"I thought our goaltending was great again tonight," said Hudler. "It's a great win, they have a great team."
After capping this trek, the Flames will begin a two-game homestand Wednesday against Anaheim. That tilt kicks off a stretch of seven home tests in eight games for Calgary.
The Flames have won two of the past three meetings against the Sens and have claimed 10 of the past 14 encounters. Ottawa has won two straight and three of the last four on home ice.