EDMONTON OILERS (39-34-6) at
CALGARY FLAMES (40-27-10)
8:10 p.m. MDT
630 CHED, Oilers Radio Network and online at edmontonoilers.com.
Game Notes | Oilers/Flames Stats Comparison | Player Head-to-Head Statistics
Despite failing to pick up two points last night in Denver, all is not lost for the Edmonton Oilers. With three games left in the regular season - beginning tonight in Calgary - the Oilers need to win out and get a little bit of help but they're not looking for a miracle.
The Oilers play Calgary tonight and again on Tuesday as well as Vancouver on Thursday. If they go 3-0 and both Vancouver and Nashville lose two of their final four games, Edmonton is in.
The Canucks play the Oilers, Flames twice and Avalanche. Nashville plays Detroit, St. Louis twice and Chicago. Considering both the Canucks and Predators have been playing at or below .500 hockey for the past month, it's certainly not a tall order.
All last night's shootout loss to Colorado did was eliminate the chance for error. While before, a shootout loss by Vancouver or Nashville would be as good as a regulation loss from Edmonton's perspective it would now be like a win.
Calgary has not played since a 3-2 win over the Canucks on Tuesday night. Following that win, they moved into first place in the Northwest Division but while sitting idle for the past three days the Minnesota Wild have skated past them and into a three-point lead for top spot.
The Flames do hold two games in hand on the Wild and will make up one of those games tonight. With five games left in the season, the Flames likely need to win four to ensure themselves the number three seed and home ice advantage in the first round.
This is the seventh of eight meetings this season between the Oilers and Flames. Each team has won three times previously.
Just The Facts...
OILERS TO WATCH: Sam Gagner
leads the Oilers in points against the Flames this season with six in six games. Gagner scored the first two goals of his NHL career in the Saddledome and has three in total versus Calgary... Dustin Penner
was held off the scoresheet in each of the last two games, but prior to that he had three goals and four points in a four-game stretch. Penner now leads the Oilers in goals scored with 22... With 18 goals, Andrew Cogliano
is two goals away from becoming the fourth Oiler with 20-plus goals this season... Curits Glencross continues to score timely goals for Edmonton. He has four goals in his last six games and seven in 23 games overall. In three games against the Flames, Glencross has three goals - all three were scored with Columbus including a two-goal game and an overtime winner... The Oilers have 12 players with 10 or more goals this season to lead the NHL in that category: Penner (22), Shawn Horcoff
(21), Ales Hemsky
(20), Cogliano (18), Kyle Brodziak (14), Robert Nilsson (10) and each of Gagner, Jarret Stoll, Tom Gilbert
, Glencross and Fernando Pisani with 13.
FLAMES TO WATCH:
In six games against the Oilers this season, Jarome Iginla only has two goals but he leads the Flames with seven points. Iginla is making a case for himself as the Hart Trophy winner ranking third in the NHL with 49 goals and fourth with 93 points in 77 games. He's one goal away from the second 50-goal season of his career... Kristian Huselius was a healthy scratch Tuesday against Vancouver after a stretch of three straight games where he saw less than 10 minutes of ice time. Prior to that stretch he was actually playing better with three goals and five points in four games. Before that, he went 20 straight games without scoring a goal. Huselius is still Calgary's number two point-getter behind Iginla with 65 points in 76 games... With 29 goals, Daymond Langkow is aiming for his second consecutive 30-plus goal season. He ranks second on the Flames in goals scored... Defenceman Dion Phaneuf has been playing the best hockey of his career lately. In his last nine games, Phaneuf has 11 points and three goals. He has 11 of his 17 goals during a 27-game stretch after the all-star break.
Edmonton – Mathieu Garon (ankle) is doubtful. Geoff Sanderson (back) is doubtful. Ethan Moreau (broken leg) is out. Shawn Horcoff
(shoulder) is out. Sheldon Souray
(shoulder) is out. Raffi Torres (knee) is out; Calgary – Rhett Warrener (foot) is questionable.
Calgary has lost 115 man games due to injury this season, compared to a franchise-record 328 (and counting) for Edmonton... In 184 all-time meetings between these provincial rivals, the Oilers have a record of 80-84-19-1 with Calgary outscoring Edmonton 650-627. Their record at the Saddledome is 35-51-9 in 92 games... Calgary is 7-2-1 in their last 10 home games against Edmonton... In the Oilers' last 17 games, they are 12-4-1 with eight of those 12 wins being by a single goal. Overall, the Oilers are 23-13 in one-goal games this season. The Oilers have picked up at least a point in 36 of their last 57 games with a record of 31-21-5 since November 24... Calgary is four points behind last season's pace where they had 94 points through 77 games but last season it took 96 points to make the playoffs in the eighth seed while this season it's projecting to be fewer than that. In fact, the Flames could win the Northwest Division with fewer points than they earned in 2006-07 despite being the eighth seed last year.
The Other Side
- Preview: Flames vs. Oilers - The Calgary Flames prepare for their final home game of the regular season tonight when they host the Edmonton Oilers in the last Battle of Alberta between the two provincial rivals. (8:00 p.m. MT, CBC and The FAN 960) ...more
- FlamesCast: The Craig Conroy Show - Flames forward Craig Conroy is back with another audio podcast and talks about the importance of relaxing away from the rink with family, friends and teammates during the drive to the playoffs. The Craig Conroy Show -- 28-03.08 | ...more
- Playoff race tracker - The playoff race in the Western Conference is as tight as ever. Heading into action Wednesday, the Flames were in first in the Northwest Division. We've put it all together in one spot -- see who plays who down the stretch on a team-by-team basis. ...more
- Flames TV: Rapid Fire with Eric Godard - Calgary Flames forward Eric Godard sits down with Mitch Nybo for our latest Rapid Fire question and answer session. 700K | ...more
From the Fans
Odds and Ends
- Playoff picture coming into focus - After picking up a point on Friday night, the Edmonton Oilers are now only two points out of the final playoff spot in the Western Conference. They can move into a tie with Nashville and Vancouver with a win on Saturday in Calgary. ...more
- Oilers Photo Blog brought to you by Bell - After picking up a point on Friday night, the Edmonton Oilers are now only two points out of the final playoff spot in the Western Conference. They can move into a tie with Nashville and Vancouver with a win on Saturday in Calgary. ...more
From the Wire
The Calgary Flames' stay atop the Northwest Division didn't last long, but they'll have an opportunity to inch closer to the top spot when they face the rival Edmonton Oilers on Saturday in their final home game of the regular season.
Calgary (40-27-10), which hasn't won the Northwest title since 2005-06, was able to temporarily capture the division lead with a 3-2 home victory over Vancouver on Tuesday night.
Captain Jarome Iginla and Daymond Langkow each had a goal and an assist for the Flames, who scored three unanswered goals to win for the third time in four games.
"We just kept coming," said Iginla, who has nine goals and five assists in his last nine games. "We didn't get discouraged, nobody got frustrated on the bench. We felt like we were going to find a way to get ourselves back in the game."
The victory helped Calgary pass Minnesota in the division, but while the Flames haven't played since then, the Wild have won twice to build a three-point advantage on both Calgary and Colorado in the Northwest.
Calgary can get to within one point of the lead with both Minnesota and Colorado idle until their matchup on Sunday.
The Flames, who have five games remaining, are closing in on securing their fourth straight postseason berth. They are currently in a three-way tie for fifth in the Western Conference, six points ahead of 10th-place Edmonton (39-34-6).
The Flames have won seven of their last nine at Pengrowth Saddledome, reeling off four straight victories there for their longest home winning streak since an eight-game run from Jan. 4-Feb. 3, 2007.
They're hoping to extend that success behind Miikka Kiprusoff, who won an NHL-leading 28 home games last season. He made 32 saves on Tuesday to improve to 7-0-2 with two shutouts and a 1.76 goals-against average in his last nine starts in Calgary.
Kiprusoff is 3-2-0 with a 1.81 GAA in five starts against the Oilers this season, leading the Flames to victory in two of three home games, including a 4-1 decision on Feb. 9 in the most recent contest.
Kiprusoff is 9-2-1 with a tie, a shutout and a 1.67 GAA in 13 all-time home games versus Edmonton, which has split the six-game series with the Flames.
The Oilers dropped the second contest on their three-game road trip Friday, 5-4 in a shootout at Colorado.
Tom Gilbert had a goal and an assist for the Oilers, who hope to avoid their first three-game losing streak since Feb. 16-22.
Edmonton also fell two points behind Nashville and Vancouver for the eighth and final postseason spot in the West. The Oilers have three games left to reach the playoffs for the eighth time in 11 seasons.
"There is not much we can do, we have to prepare for another game, and quickly, too," defenseman Steve Staios said. "Maybe that is a good thing. We played a hard-fought, tough game (Friday), and it's disappointing, but it is up to everyone in here to pick ourselves up and be ready for tomorrow."
Dwayne Roloson, who made 32 saves on Friday, stopped 30 shots in a 4-1 loss to Calgary on Oct. 20 - his lone appearance of the season against his former team.
Roloson - 5-2-1 with a 3.20 GAA in his last eight overall starts - is 2-8-0 with three ties, one shutout and a 2.58 GAA in 13 visits to Calgary.