NOTE: We are in Calgary today and will provide comprehensive pre-game and post-game coverage to edmontonoilers.com.
EDMONTON OILERS (5-10-1) at
CALGARY FLAMES (6-7-3)
8:08 p.m. MST
630 CHED, Oilers Radio Network and online at edmontonoilers.com.
The Edmonton Oilers look to put an end to a four-game winless skid tonight when they take on the equally struggling Calgary Flames at the Pengrowth Saddledome.
Both teams likely deserved a better fate their last time out. Edmonton went into Denver and had a 3-2 lead over the Colorado Avalanche through two periods but the Avs tied the game up early in the third before ultimately winning the game in a shootout.
Calgary's last game was a 3-2 loss on home ice to Vancouver. The Canucks raced out to a 3-0 lead before a late Calgary surge closed the gap to one goal. The Flames outshot Vancouver 38-24 on the night but still had nothing to show for it.
Calgary started the season on fire, with their best October since 2001 but have come up empty in November with four straight losses. the first three losses were by equal 4-1 deficits.
Edmonton has faced Calgary already at the Saddledome earlier this season. Back on October 20, the Flames defeated the Oilers 4-1. It was a one-goal game most of the night before two late Calgary goals blew it open. Sam Gagner
scored his first career NHL goal that evening.
Just The Facts...
LINEUP UPDATE (7:21 PM):
Oilers head coach Craig MacTavish has decided to go with Mathieu Garon tonight instead of Roloson. No word on why the change of decision.
LINEUP UPDATE (12:40 PM):
The Oilers didn't have a morning skate and instead went straight to the hotel after flying in to Calgary. The team only brought the 20 skaters who will suit up tonight. Allan Rourke draws in on defence alongside Denis Grebeshkov, while Souray stayed in Edmonton.
OILERS TO WATCH:
Raffi Torres continues to play a dominant role on Edmonton's top line. He had 10 shots against the Avalanche and will be public enemy number one coming into the building tonight after his hit against Calgary's David Moss on October 20... Last game, Dick Tarnstrom logged a season high 29:09 versus the Colorado Avalanche and scored his first goal of the season. After registering no shots on goal through the first nine games of the season, Tarnstrom has four shots in his last four games. Hobbled somewhat by injury, he likely won't see quite as much time tonight but should still be a factor... Allan Rourke makes his Oilers debut tonight. The 27 year old has played 42 career NHL games and 11 last season with the New York Islanders. Rourke is fifth in Springfield scoring with seven points in 12 games.
FLAMES TO WATCH:
Goaltender Miikka Kiprusoff has started every one of Calgary's 16 games so far this season and will do so again tonight... With 10 points through 16 games, Dion Phaneuf is on pace to net a new career high in points. Phaneuf leads the Flames, averaging 27:29 of ice time a night... Since being recalled from Quad City of the AHL in late October, Eric Nystrom has played well. He scored his first career NHL goal on Oct. 30 vs. Nashville and has picked up at least a shot on goal in each of the five games he's played while averaging over 12 minutes a night... Jarome Iginla has 50 points in 57 career games versus Edmonton. He's off to a good start this season with 10 goals and 23 points through 16 games. His point total ranks him third in the league currently, one point behind Sidney Crosby and two back of Henrik Zetterberg.
Edmonton – Dick Tarnstrom is probable. Sheldon Souray
(shoulder) is doubtful. Ethan Moreau (foot) is out. Joni Pitkanen (knee) is out. Matt Greene (ankle) is out. Mathieu Roy (shoulder) is out; Calgary – Daymond Langkow (concussion) is questionable. Wayne Primeau (ankle sprain) is doubtful. Rhett Warrener (throat infection) is doubtful.
Edmonton has an all-time record of 77-82-19-1 against Calgary (31-50-9 in games played at Calgary)... Marty Reasoner is playing in his 400th career NHL game tonight. His assist last game on Kyle Brodziak's goal was his 100th career NHL point... Dwayne Roloson played his 100th career game as an Oiler on Wednesday in Colorado... Calgary is 7-1-1 at home in its last 10 games versus the Oilers with Edmonton's last regulation win coming on April 4, 2004... The Flames are unbeaten in regulation this season when Jarome Ignila records more than one point (5-0-1)... Calgary has only one win all season in games where they fail to score one power play goal and only three (3-6-2) in games where they score one or less...
Oilers look for steadiness from Rourke -
When Allan Rourke steps onto the ice for the first time tonight, he will be the first Oiler to ever wear the number 52 but Rourke’s gameplan is to try and make as little waves as possible. ...more
The Other Side
- Daily Flames Update Information on the Flames from this current week. ...more
- Flames Game Notebook Notes, quotes and anecdotes from the Flames-Canucks game Thursday at the Pengrowth Saddledome. ...more
- Thursday's Mike Keenan Post-Game Press Conference Keenan comments on his team's fourth loss in a row. WATCH
From the Fans
Odds and Ends
- Messier to be inducted into the Hall of Fame on Monday - Few players have commanded the spotlight better than Mark Messier, who exemplified the terms “captain” and “champion” during a brilliant 25-season career. ...more
- Oilers turning the corner after effort versus Avs - The old adage is that when a team in a slump starts to come out of it, they start playing better but still lose games they should have won. Wednesday's shootout loss in Denver certainly falls under that category. ...more
From the Wire
The Calgary Flames have struggled in nearly every facet of the game in their last four contests. The Edmonton Oilers haven't looked much better lately.
Each team looks to snap a four-game skid on Saturday when the Northwest Division rivals square off in Calgary.
The Flames (6-7-3) have been outscored 15-5 during their losing streak. They're averaging 1.3 goals during the skid after scoring 3.5 per contest in their first 12 games. In the four November losses, Calgary has converted only two of its 16 power-play opportunities, while allowing opponents to go 5-for-17 with the man advantage.
On Thursday, Calgary gave up three second-period goals - including two in a span of 16 seconds - in a 3-2 home loss to Vancouver. Anders Eriksson scored one of the Flames' two goals during a rally in the third period, but Calgary couldn't overcome the 3-0 deficit.
"We're beating ourselves," Eriksson said. "We're not playing until we get our backs pushed up against the wall and we have nowhere to go, then we start playing the way we can."
Miikka Kiprusoff was 6-3-3 with a 2.97 goals-against average in October, but has allowed at least three goals in each game of the losing streak while posting a 3.67 GAA in that stretch.
The only thing working for the Flames right now is the play of Jarome Iginla, who's recorded a point in five straight games.
Iginla has 20 goals and 30 assists in his career against the Oilers for his second-highest point total against any team. He has seven points in his last four games against them, including one goal and two assists in the teams' first meeting this season - a 4-1 home win for Calgary on Oct. 20.
That doesn't bode well for the Oilers (5-10-1), who have gone 0-3-1 in their last four games to claim the league's worst record. After three straight regulation defeats, however, Edmonton coach Craig MacTavish was encouraged by a 4-3 shootout loss at Colorado on Wednesday.
"I was thrilled with the way that we played," MacTavish told the Oilers' official Web site. "We had all kinds of opportunity."
Edmonton, which had lost its previous three games by a combined 11-4, had a 3-2 lead after one period Wednesday but was held scoreless the rest of the way to fall to 2-6-1 on the road. Despite the disappointing finish, the Oilers feel like they've taken a step in the right direction.
"Way more positives than negatives to take to Calgary. We created a lot of offensive opportunities out there," said forward Jarret Stoll, who has an assist in three of the last four games after totaling two points in his first 12 contests. "We battled hard, we skated and moved the puck. It was one of those games where we can definitely take a lot of positives."
Edmonton's Dwayne Roloson is 8-14-0 with three ties and a 2.57 GAA in 25 career games against the Flames.
Kiprusoff, meanwhile, has dominated the Oilers. He's 13-5-2 with one tie and two shutouts against them, while posting a 1.75 GAA in those 21 games.