NOTE: We are in Calgary today for Hockey Day in Canada. Stay with edmontonoilers.com all day for comprehensive coveraging, including post-game.
EDMONTON OILERS (25-26-5) at
CALGARY FLAMES (27-20-8)
5:08 p.m. MST
630 CHED, Oilers Radio Network and online at edmontonoilers.com.
Game Notes | Oilers/Flames Stats Comparison | Player Head-to-Head Statistics
In a league where anybody can beat anybody else on any given night as the Los Angeles Kings proved Thursday beating the league-leading Detroit Red Wings 5-3, the Edmonton Oilers can't let recent events skew their opinion of tonight's contest.
On Monday, Edmonton disposed of the Calgary Flames in relatively easy fashion by winning a 5-0 game. On Wednesday, the Oilers then waxed the Chicago Blackhawks 4-1 on home ice.
Those same Blackhawks skated into Calgary the very next night and beat the Flames 3-1.
However, despite their recent misfortune, Calgary still sits in a playoff spot while Edmonton is on the outside looking in. With 62 points to Edmonton's 55 the Oilers know how crucial tonight's game is for their playoff hopes.
Calgary has a chance to make a move tonight as well if they were to win. The Flames are currently two points behind Minnesota for first place in the Northwest Division.
This is the sixth meeting of the season between Edmonton and Calgary. The Oilers have won three of the previous five.
Just The Facts...
LINEUP UPDATE (11:52 AM):
The Oilers did not skate this morning but it's known that Mathieu Garon will start in goal and Curtis Glencross draws back into the lineup. One of Geoff Sanderson or Robert Nilsson are likely to sit this one out.
OILERS TO WATCH:
After missing Wednesday's game, Curtis Glencross will draw back into the lineup tonight for Edmonton. He had a spirited debut for the Oilers on Monday against Calgary, including a fight with Calgary defenceman Cory Sarich. He has three goals in three games played against the Flames this season including an overtime winner back when he played for Columbus... Sam Gagner
, whose father Dave once played with Calgary on a line with Jarome Iginla, has a goal and three assists for four points in his last two games. Monday against Calgary he averaged 20:02 of icetime and on Wednesday it was 16:37. Gagner has five goals this season and three have come against Calgary. He is tied with Shawn Horcoff
for most points against the Flames this season with five... Andrew Cogliano
has 26 points in 56 games this season but he has four points in five games versus Calgary.
FLAMES TO WATCH:
One major lineup change for Calgary in this game tonight will be in goal with Miikka Kiprusoff starting in place of Curtis Joseph. Kiprusoff has done very well against the Oilers throughout his career with a 14-7-3 record as well as a 1.82 goals-against average and .934 save percentage... Captain Jarome Iginla broke out of a 10-game goalless slump on Tuesday when he scored with nine seconds left to tie the game against the Phoenix Coyotes. Iginla added the game winner as the lone scorer in the shootout. He was held without a point Thursday against Chicago... Eric Godard could be a player to watch tonight for the Flames. In his last game, he racked up 27 minutes in penalties following a confrontation with Oilers goaltender Mathieu Garon. It was the first game where Gordard registered a goal, assist or penalty minute since a two minute minor on December 11 at Florida. Godard missed the next game with a suspension and then was a healthy scratch on Thursday.
Edmonton – Shawn Horcoff
(shoulder) is out. Sheldon Souray
(shoulder) is out. Raffi Torres (knee) is out; Calgary – The Flames are healthy.
Edmonton's power play has had a very productive week with five goals on 14 opportunities. The recent surge has moved the club from 27th to 25th ranked in the NHL. The Oilers have done well against the Flames with the man advantage, going 6-for-25 (24.0%)... Calgary is only 1-for-18 on the power play in recent games... Calgary is four points behind its pace of last season when it had 66 points after 55 games. After 31 home games in 2006-07, the Flames had a record of 24-6-1 while this year they are 14-10-7... The Flames are 14-1-0 when Kristian Huselius scores a goal... Calgary does not have a shutout this season while allowing four, including Garon's 5-0 blanking on Monday. However, they have four hat tricks and have not allowed any.
- We talk to Moreau, Hemsky & Gagner from their hotel in Calgary: 700K
- Off-day comments from Greene, Garon, Glencross & MacTavish. 700K
Hockey Day in Winkler, Manitoba for Dustin Penner -
Oilers forward Dustin Penner
spent some time in his hometown of Winkler, Manitoba today, the host site of Saturday's Hockey Day in Canada celebration. Follow the link for a story of Penner's improbable journey
from Winkler to the NHL. | Photos
Souray undergoes surgery
- Edmonton Oilers defenceman Sheldon Souray
underwent arthroscopic surgery on his injured left shoulder today. He will make another visit to the specialist in New Jersey in four weeks for further evaluation. ...more
The Other Side
From the Fans
Odds and Ends
From the Wire
As the Calgary Flames continue to struggle, the Edmonton Oilers might be starting to heat up.
The Oilers will try for a third straight victory and second in six days over the Flames when the provincial rivals meet Saturday in Calgary.
While fighting for position in the tightly contested Northwest Division - the top four teams are separated by three points - Calgary (27-20-8) has lost three of four. That skid includes a 5-0 loss at Edmonton on Monday.
It was the Flames' second consecutive defeat to the Oilers (25-26-5), who are last in the Northwest but are coming off back-to-back wins and have gone 3-2-0 versus Calgary this season.
The teams enter this contest coming off different results against the Chicago Blackhawks.
Edmonton beat the Blackhawks 4-1 on Wednesday, continuing its solid play offensively in its second game since leading scorer Shawn Horcoff was lost for the season with a shoulder injury.
Joni Pitkanen had a goal and an assist while Jarrett Stoll, Dustin Penner and Ethan Moreau each scored for Edmonton, which is seven points behind the Flames.
"We have lots of energy and lots of good things are happening," Oilers coach Craig MacTavish said. "I can't really think of a time all season where we've had this much life on the bench. It's a product of having a little taste of success in the short term here.
"Hopefully, we can continue in the same way and build some wins and get ourselves back into it."
The power play has been a big reason for the Oilers' recent success. Near the bottom of the league with a 15.6 power-play percentage, Edmonton is 5-for-14 with the man advantage in its last two games. It is 6-for-25 (24 percent) on the power play versus Calgary this season.
"We've been working on it for the past week, trying different looks and different personnel," said Penner, who also had a goal versus Calgary on Monday. "And we seem to have found what we needed. The guys are really starting to click."
Mathieu Garon made 40 saves against Chicago after he recorded his fourth shutout of the season against Calgary on Monday. Garon is 3-1-0 with a 1.51 goals-against average versus the Flames this season.
Calgary lost 3-1 to Chicago on Thursday night. Adrian Aucoin scored for the Flames, who have been outscored 13-6 in their last four games while going 1-for-18 on the power play.
"(Thursday) it seemed like we were fighting the puck," said forward Alex Tanguay, who has a goal and three assists versus Edmonton this season. "We were giving the puck away, we were putting the pucks in bad areas and that's just mental sharpness. Everybody's responsible to be accountable before the game and be ready and we were ready for some shifts, and not ready for others."
Calgary's Miikka Kiprusoff made 25 saves Thursday, but lost for the second time in three starts. Though he is 2-2-0 versus Edmonton this season, Kiprusoff has 14 wins with a 1.82 GAA in 24 career starts against the Oilers.
The teams have split two meetings in Calgary this season.