Preview: Oilers vs. Flames
CALGARY FLAMES (34-18-6) at
EDMONTON OILERS (29-25-4)
Start Time: 8:10 p.m. MST
Television: CBC (HD)
Radio: 630 CHED, Oilers Radio Network and online at edmontonoilers.com.
Today's Game Notes | Oilers/Flames Head-to-Head | Stats Comparison
|CALGARY, AB - DECEMBER 31: Cory Sarich #6 of the Calgary Flames skates against Eric Cole #26 of the Edmonton Oilers on December 31, 2008 at Pengrowth Saddledome in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. (Photo by Brad Watson/NHLI via Getty Images)
by Nick Conrad | edmontonoilers.com
|THE ESSENTIALS FOR TONIGHT
The road trip started strong and finished weak, but the Oilers are still clinging to the final playoff spot in the West.
After two straight losses to finish 2-2 on their road trip, Edmonton holds a fragile one-point grasp over Anaheim for the eighth spot and position jostling will be fast and furious in the coming weeks.
Tonight, the Battle of Alberta is renewed when the Edmonton Oilers (29-25-4) face the Calgary Flames (34-18-6) who’ve been red-hot since starting February with four straight losses. Calgary has gone 4-0-2 in their last six games to stay eight points up on Vancouver for first in the Northwest division.
The Oilers and Flames last played on New Year’s Eve when the Flames scored three third-period goals to put the game out of reach for the Oilers.
Edmonton will next take on the Tampa Bay Lightning on Tuesday before a crucial game versus Columbus on Thursday.
Just The Facts...
OILERS TO WATCH: Shawn Horcoff
has continued to produce of late. He’s got three goals in his last four games and six points in his last five games...Sam Gagner
likes to play Calgary. He’s got three goals and five assists in 10 games vs. the Flames and had two assists in his last games vs. Calgary...Zack Stortini
has been hitting everything that moves lately and has found the back of the net twice in his last five games. He also leads the league in fights and will to be a physical presence vs. the Flames.
FLAMES TO WATCH:
Jarome Iginla had five points in his last game vs. Edmonton. He leads the Flames in points with 61 and has scored 23-37-60 all-time vs. Edmonton...Mike Cammalleri also had five points in his last game vs. the Oilers. He leads the Flames in goals with 29...Mika Kiprusoff has played all but four games this season and leads the NHL in wins (34). He’s gone 17-10-1-2 all-time vs. Edmonton.
Edmonton—Denis Grebeshkov (high ankle sprain) is out. Lubomir Visnovsky (torn labrum) is out; Fernando Pisani (ankle) is out.Calgary—Rene Bourque (ankle) is doubtful; Wayne Primeau (broken foot) is out; Rhett Warrener (shoulder) is out;
At 85.7%, Calgary's penalty killing ranks third in the entire NHL... Edmonton's penalty kill is 28th at 77.3%... The Oilers' power play is 18th at 17.8%. Calgary is 17th with the man advantage at 18.1%... The Oilers, fresh off of an important four game road trip, now play host over a four game home stand beginning with the Battle of Alberta as part of Hockey Day In Canada. Robert Nilsson and Sam Gagner
have been shootout heroes twice in the last two weeks. Nilsson has also collected four points in his last seven games... Prior to this season these two teams have met 186 times during the regular season. Eighty-one of those games have resulted in two points for the Oilers and 85 have favoured the Flames. However at home, the Oilers have won 48 of 93 and lost 34 games.
Oilers place Denis Grebeshkov on NHL Injured Reserve
- General Manager Steve Tambellini announced today the Edmonton Oilers have placed defenceman Denis Grebeshkov on the NHL Injured Reserve List. ...more
The Other Side - news from calgaryflames.com
- Save of the Year - Miikka Kiprusoff's diving paddle save on Vancouver's Kyle Wellwood is making highlight reels around North America. "That save was the best I have ever seen," noted Flames forward Rene Bourque. Watch the save at Flames TV online. 700K | ...more
- Crunch Brothers - Dion Phaneuf and Cory Sarich make up this week's Calgary Flames crunch team. Both Sarich, No. 9 and Phaneuf, No. 1 make the top 10 NHL Hits of the Week. ...more
From the Fans
Odds and Ends
- The LINK: Hockey Sticks and Skates - In this edition of The Link we look at the evolution of hockey sticks with a number of current Oilers as well as Equipment Manager Barrie Stafford and former NHLer Rob Brown. We also skate with ICE School students. ...more
- This or That? With Erik Cole - Things aren't always black and white, but we made Erik Cole choose Option A or Option B on a variety of topics, including precipitation, footwear, and winter sports (other than hockey, of course). ...more
- Horcoff, Penner and Brodziak's Faves - Golf with Kyle Brodziak, listen to Dustin Penner's favourite tunes, or get your hands on a brand new Shawn Horcoff-approved Nintendo DS. These items and more are up for bid in Saturday's Oilers Favourite Things auction! ...more
From the Wire (AP)
For a Calgary Flames team in the Northwest Division driver's seat, successfully wrapping up a stretch of three straight games against division foes could bring that title closer.
For an Edmonton Oilers club scrapping just to make the playoffs, every remaining game looms large.
The Flames go for their fourth win in five games overall and their fourth consecutive road victory Saturday night when they visit the provincial rival Oilers.
Seeking its first division title since 2005-06, Calgary (34-18-6) leads the Northwest by eight points over Vancouver and 12 over third-place Edmonton (29-25-4). The Flames have helped their cause by earning at least a point in each of their last six games (4-0-2) following a season-worst four-game losing streak to open February.
This will conclude a stretch of three straight divisional matchups for the Flames, who followed Tuesday's 4-3 shootout loss at home to the Canucks with a 3-2 overtime win Thursday at fourth-place Minnesota.
Adrian Aucoin, who'd hit the post with a shot earlier in the extra session, scored with 1:10 remaining. Rene Bourque and Dustin Boyd scored Calgary's other goals.
"We knew this was three important games in our division that we have to make sure we are getting points and win the games," Boyd said. "Tonight wasn't the prettiest, but we got the victory."
Defense was a big reason why they came out on top. After surrendering an average of 39 shots in its previous four games, Calgary allowed only 29 on Thursday, and Miikka Kiprusoff barely worked in the third period.
"I only saw one shot in the third period and I kind of liked it," he said.
Casting a shadow on the victory, Bourque suffered an ankle injury. Flames coach Mike Keenan said the winger, whose career-high 21 goals are tied for second on the team, is "going to be gone for a long time."
With 62 points, the Oilers currently hold the eighth and final playoff spot in the West, leading ninth-place Anaheim by one point and trailing seventh-place Dallas by three.
Edmonton had a chance to overtake the Stars on Thursday, but lost 4-2 and headed home with an even split of its four-game road trip - which began with wins in Los Angeles and Phoenix.
"The team that puts together a .750 road trip is one of the teams that's going to get into the playoffs," Oilers coach Craig MacTavish said. "We could have really helped ourselves."
Liam Reddox and Shawn Horcoff scored for the Oilers, who have managed two goals or fewer in nine of their 10 losses since the New Year. They are 10-1-0 since the start of January when scoring three or more.
They've scored at least three times in all three of their previous meetings with Calgary this season, with two wins to show for it. They lost the most recent one, though, 6-4 at the Pengrowth Saddledome on Dec. 31, when Jarome Iginla and Michael Cammalleri each had two goals and three assists for the Flames.
Returning home won't necessarily help Edmonton. The Oilers are 13-11-3 at Rexall Place compared 16-14-1 on the road, and are tied with Los Angeles for the fewest home wins in the West.