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AT THE OILERS' HOTEL
Coming off the heels of two improbable wins in regulation time against the top team in the NHL, the Edmonton Oilers head into Calgary where they aim to sink the Flames' dwindling playoff hopes.
"This is such a great rivalry and it's a great opportunity to be a part of the Battle of Alberta and I think our guys have identified with that all year long," said Oilers head coach Tom Renney.
"And I think, too, with how we handled our last game in Edmonton (against Calgary) we want to make sure we're better than that for 60 minutes."
Renney, of course, was referring to the team squandering a 4-1 third-period lead to eventually lose 5-4 in the the shootout 11 days ago at Rexall Place.
"We have to give them some credit," Renney said of Calgary's comeback performance that day. "They came out and did what they had to do to get themselves back into the game and ultimately win it."
Renney went on to point out that despite Calgary's improved performance getting them back into that game, ultimately it's how the Oilers play that will make the difference.
"We will worry less about them and more about what we have to do in order to have success but certainly conscious of the fact that we have to play 60 minutes."
KHABIBULIN STARTS; CHORNEY IN
Renney announced that he'll be starting Nikolai Khabiublin in goal tonight after Devan Dubnyk picked up the last two victories.
"I'm going to go with Khabi tonight," he said. "I'm going to make sure he gets a couple of games down the stretch here and see how that plays itself out at the end of the day."
By process of elimination, that means with three games left (including tonight), Khabibulin will get two starts while Dubnyk will get one more.
"Devan will have played a lot more than we anticipated (at the start of the season) - certainly, we think enough - and he'll get another start here too before we're done."
The only other lineup change will be Taylor Chorney who draws in for the first time since February 22.
"I think Chorns is good to go. I wanted him to have another skate today and I'll get some feedback from Steve (Smith) and Kelly (Buchberger) on how he made out there. He felt good when I talked to him again last night."
The blueliner has been sidelined with a knee injury. Making room for Chorney, Strudwick moves up to forward. Tom Gilbert did not make the trip so he'll miss his second straight game with a back injury.
Since the team played with only 17 skaters last night, nobody needs to draw out of the lineup.
EBERLE READY TO GO
Despite nearly being injured after reaching the infamous 42-point mark on Tuesday thanks to an errant elbow from Vancouver's Raffi Torres, Jordan Eberle is fine and will play tonight in Calgary. In fact, despite the seriousness of the hit, he did not miss a shift.
"I feel fine," said Eberle. "I've taken worse hits in my career. It's part of the game and actually I feel pretty good."
The rookie winger gave his version of the events.
"I saw it, looked at and obviously put myself in a pretty vulnerable position, reaching for the puck. I think he blindsides me but we'll let the League decide. We should move on."
-- Marc Ciampa, edmontonoilers.com
Last 10: Edmonton 2-6-2; Calgary 4-4-2
Season Series: It's the sixth and final game of the Battle of Alberta. The Oilers won the first one, 4-0 at home on opening night, but the Flames have won the last four -- including a pair of shootouts. Calgary is 11-1-0 in the last 12 games between the provincial rivals.
Big Story: The Flames have been sitting and watching for two days since their 2-1 win at Colorado on Sunday, hoping this game would mean something. It will -- with 91 points, the Flames are two behind Chicago and Anaheim with two games remaining. The Oilers, who completed a home-and-home sweep of Vancouver with a 2-0 win on Tuesday, would like nothing more than ensuring that their biggest rivals will join them watching the playoffs on TV.
Oilers: There won't be any playoffs in Edmonton again this year, but the Oilers have given their fans something to smile about by sweeping a home-and-home series against the first-place Vancouver Canucks. The Oilers won 4-1 at Vancouver on Saturday and took the back end 2-0 at Rexall Place on Tuesday as Devan Dubnyk made 26 saves.
"It feels awesome," Dubnyk said of the sweep. "We've done a good job the last two games. The odds were stacked pretty highly against us these last two games. I don't think anybody really gave us a chance. It would have been easy to sit back and just believe that. It's exciting that we said no way and went out there and did it."
Flames: Things looked bleak for the Flames after Anaheim Came into Scotiabank Saddledome last Wednesday and left with a 4-2 win. But a pair of road wins and losses by the Ducks and Chicago Blackhawks have given Calgary new life. The Flames are just two points behind Anaheim and Chicago entering Wednesday's action, though both teams have a game in hand.
"We came on the road, won two big games, and it's tightened the gap up for us," coach Brent Sutter said Wednesday. "Now we're right there again. Let's see what happens with other games. Let's get ourselves ready for our next opponent."
Who's Hot: Dubnyk has allowed just one goal in winning his last two starts, stopping 76 of 77 shots. … Flames captain Jarome Iginla has 6 goals and 10 points during a five-game points streak. Linemate Alex Tanguay has 2 goals and 7 points in Calgary's last three games.
Injury Report: Oilers defenseman Tom Gilbert sat out Tuesday with a bad back, ending his consecutive games streak at 332. Gilbert Brule and Colin Fraser also sat with undisclosed injuries. … The Flames have been without Niklas Hagman (concussion), David Moss (ankle) and Brendan Morrison (knee).
Stat Pack: Edmonton scored its first 5-on-3 goal of the season in the win against Vancouver on Tuesday. .. Tuesday's win gave the Oilers 61 points, one more than the franchise-worst mark set in 1992-93.
Puck Drop: Before the puck drops, the Flames will honor Iginla, who reached the 1,000-point mark on Friday by scoring the winning goal in a 3-2 victory at St. Louis.
Not that he's ready to hang up his skates.
"It's not a swan (song) where I'll skate around," the 33-year-old said of the impending tribute. "I'd imagine it will be pretty short-lived as we have work to do."
-- John Kreiser - NHL.com Columnist