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PREVIEW: Oilers at Flames

Oilers start post-Christmas schedule in Calgary against Flames

Friday, 27.12.2013 / 4:31 PM / Boston Pizza Game Preview
By Marc Ciampa  - edmontonoilers.com
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PREVIEW: Oilers at Flames
Oilers start post-Christmas schedule in Calgary against Flames
TV: Sportsnet West
RADIO: 630 CHED & Oilers Radio Network
PUCK DROP: 7:08 p.m. MST
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INSIDE THE OILERS

Devan Dubnyk gets the start tonight, more from Oilers morning skate and other storylines. 

>> READ MORE IN THE INSIDE THE OILERS BLOG


AT THE MORNING SKATE

The Edmonton Oilers have a short one-game trip to the Saddledome to take on the Calgary Flames tonight. The game comes on the heels of a big 6-2 win over the Winnipeg Jets on Monday.

Devan Dubnyk gets the start in goal and other than that, expect the same lineup for the Oilers this evening as they had Monday. The lines last game were:

Hall-RNH-Perron
Joensuu-Gagner-Eberle
Smyth-Gordon-Hemsky
Gazdic-Lander-Yakupov

Defence pairings:

Ference-J.Schultz
Belov-Petry
N.Schultz-Potter

Yesterday, the team called up Roman Horak and Martin Marincin from the Oklahoma City Barons of the AHL but Eakins said that neither will play tonight.

Ilya Bryzgalov gets the start tomorrow back at Rexall Place against his former team, the Philadelphia Flyers.

COMING OFF THE BREAK

This is the first season, as per the new CBA, that Boxing Day is a mandatory day off for all teams. Mandatory day off means no activities, including practice or travel.

For the Oilers, that meant they departed Edmonton at 9:00 this morning and headed straight for the rink and morning skate — their first time on the ice since Monday.

“Always good to go into the break with a win but the break’s over. I’m sure Calgary had a nice break and I’m sure the game will be tilted one way or the other, the way the teams start tonight,” said Oilers head coach Dallas Eakins. “I’m sure Bob (Hartley)’s over there preaching the same thing. Our start, our ability to get our minds right immediately will be the key to success tonight.”

The Flames currently sit seven points ahead of the Oilers with two games in hand. Coach Eakins was asked about Calgary’s work ethic.

“Calgary is an extremely hard working team but I don’t discount the way our team works, either. I’ve seen mentions in the media that on certain nights our team has quit. I don’t see that. You may see a lopsided score but that does not mean quit. I’m standing on the bench watching it and I never see that,” Eakins remarked.

“I like the way our team worked. Can we get better at that? Absolutely. But I think our group is as hard working as Calgary. The one thing Calgary’s been able to do is be in those games, keep them close and probably stick with the game plan and that’s where we’re still learning our lessons. If we do get down by a couple of goals that it’s not necessary to ad lib. If you just stick with your game plan with the necessary habits, good things will happen and you’ll get back into the game that way.”

MORE NUMBERS

Eakins was directly on point when talking about Calgary’s ability to stay in close games.

The Oilers have played 14 one-goal games this season with a record of 5-9-0. The Flames have played 25 one-goal games and are 12-13-0 in those contests. If the game ends in regulation, Calgary is 5-7 while Edmonton is 1-6. If the game goes into overtime or a shootout, the Oilers are 4-3 and the Flames are 7-6.

No other team in the NHL has played as many one-goal games as the Flames.

The last eight times that the Oilers have played the Flames, they have a 5-2-1 record. Three of the last four times they’ve been to the Saddledome they’ve come away with two points also. That is in sharp contrast to the 10 games before that in which the Flames won all 10.
 

-- Marc Ciampa, edmontonoilers.com


NHL.COM GAME PREVIEW

OILERS (12-24-3) at FLAMES (14-17-6)

TV: SNET-W

Last 10: Edmonton 3-6-1; Calgary 4-4-2

Season series: With two of the five games in the books, the Battle of Alberta is in a stalemate. The Edmonton Oilers won the series opener 4-2 at Scotiabank Saddledome on Nov. 16 and the Calgary Flames responded with a 2-1 overtime win at Rexall Place on Dec. 7.

Big story: While these Pacific Division foes have had to go through some recent soul-searching over their master plans, they renew their rivalry with each having found some success prior to the NHL's three-day Christmas break. The Oilers ended a six-game slide (0-6-0) with a 6-2 victory against the Winnipeg Jets; the Flames snapped a four-game losing streak (0-2-2) with a 4-3 shootout win against the same St. Louis Blues team that had dealt the Oilers a 6-0 shutout Saturday.

Team Scope:

Oilers: They didn't go into Christmas on a losing streak, and they made their general manager look good in the process. That was the prevailing train of thought after the Oilers' win against Winnipeg on Monday, especially given Craig MacTavish's "state of the team" comments earlier in the day. Six different Oilers found the net in a strong team effort, and coach Dallas Eakins reflected the feelings of many afterward.

"Don't think our families weren't sitting at home, or wherever these guys are flying, saying, 'Please win the game. We want our family member who is coming home to be in a good mood,'" he said. "I know my wife was looking forward to us winning the game so we could have a good three days together and me not off in La-La Land, solely focused on the next game.

"It's large even during the season when you're not going to play for a couple of days; you don't want to be sitting around with a loss. It's terrible. You're just miserable."

Flames: The numbers don't lie: What the Flames did Monday was impressive for any team. The Blues entered the game 14-0-1 leading after the first period and 16-0-2 leading after the second, and they were up 3-1 on the Flames during the second intermission.

Mike Cammalleri cut the deficit to one and Mark Giordano forced overtime with 4.2 seconds left. Then Joe Colborne scored the only shootout goal between the teams in six rounds to give the Flames the win.

"A fun win," Cammalleri said to the Calgary Herald. "Fun for our fans. Fun for everybody involved.

"We know how good they are. Beating them is especially good because you know it takes a lot to do that. The fact that we were able to make it that hard on them in the third ..."

Who's hot: Oilers forward Taylor Hall had a three-point game Monday and has five points in his past three games. Ryan Nugent-Hopkins has four points in his past three. … Cammalleri and Giordano have three-game point streaks going. Cammalleri and Jiri Hudler have goals in back-to-back games.

Injury report: Oilers forwards Ryan Jones (concussion) and Mark Arcobello (rib), who sat out the Winnipeg game, are questionable. … Flames center Matt Stajan (knee) is day-to-day. Defenseman Kris Russell (knee) and center Blair Jones (knee) are out. Left wing Curtis Glencross (ankle) and defenseman Dennis Wideman (hand) are on injured reserve.

-- Matthew Mankiewich, NHL.com

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