The Ottawa Senators have put together a well-timed point streak, but it may have come too late for them to make the playoffs.
Seeking their third victory in four games, the Senators look to improve their slim postseason hopes when they host the Calgary Flames on Sunday.
Ottawa (30-29-14) has gone 2-0-1 in its last three, but the 0-4-2 slide that preceded this stretch may prove to be its undoing. The Senators will have to pass numerous teams to earn an Eastern Conference wild-card spot.
"You cannot focus on what could be or what should be, et cetera, et cetera, you have to just stay in the moment and take it one game at a time," goaltender Craig Anderson told the team's official website. "Anything can happen, but if we think, 'Oh yeah, we can win the next eight and get ourselves in,' you're just defeating yourself. You have to go one game at a time, and if we continue to win, anything can happen. You just don't know and you have to play it out."
Anderson returned from a seven-game layoff due to an upper-body injury in Friday's 5-3 win over Chicago. The veteran made 46 saves as the Senators (30-29-14) opened a crucial five-game homestand with a victory.
Ottawa had been 0-4-1 at home since the Olympic break.
"The bottom line is we got two points and we found a way to win, and that's all that really matters," Anderson said. "We played pretty solid, and for the most part we did what it took to get the job done."
The Senators jumped out to a 3-0 lead early in the second period while surviving a 23-shot period from the Blackhawks, then Kyle Turris and Clarke MacArthur put the game away with third-period goals. MacArthur added two assists and Turris has four points in his last three games.
Turris also scored in the first meeting with Calgary on March 5, but that was Ottawa's only offense in a 4-1 loss. The Flames got goals from Markus Granlund, Paul Byron, Joe Colborne and Michael Cammalleri.
Colborne and Cammalleri also scored in Friday's 4-3 win over the New York Rangers as the Flames (31-36-7) won for the third time in four games. Though they don't have postseason hopes to motivate them, they see beating teams in contention as a positive step.
"We're at this point of the season playing big teams, playing teams with a lot to lose," said enforcer Kevin Westgarth, who scored for the second time in four contests. "It's a huge step in the right direction to be in every game and winning a lot of them."
Cammalleri added an assist and has 11 goals and seven assists in his last 14.
Karri Ramo made 38 saves and is 6-1-0 with a 1.96 goals-against average in his last nine games. He's started four in a row after missing 15 contests with a sprained MCL.
Calgary now embarks on a five-game road trip that includes four matchups with teams in the East playoff hunt, giving it plenty of opportunities to play spoiler.
"It's never going to be an easy game against the Flames," Westgarth said. "Obviously the season hasn't gone the way that we wanted it to. Playoffs is the goal. We're not there this year. We're looking to spoiler a lot at the end of this season and we're looking forward to having a big next year."