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GAME: Calgary Flames (18-10-2-3) at Edmonton Oilers (13-16-6-0).TIME: Sunday, 8 p.m. EST.
For the first time in a long time, the Calgary Flames are faced with some adversity.
The Flames will look to rebound from a shutout loss at home and the suspension of one of their defensemen when they resume the "Battle of Alberta" rivalry against the Edmonton Oilers at Skyreach Centre.
Calgary is coming off a 2-0 loss to Vancouver on Friday, just its second regulation loss in its last 18 games (12-2-2-2). Despite the defeat, the Flames are positioned well within striking distance of the first-place Canucks in the Northwest Division.
Still, a shutout loss at home to a division rival didn't sit well.
"We were flat in the first, we had no jump at all, and we were down 2-0 right away," Flames defenseman Rhett Warrener said. "It's inexcusable and we can only point our fingers at ourselves."
Calgary goalie Miikka Kiprusoff, who finished with 29 saves, allowed two or more goals for just the fourth time in 14 starts this season.
Calgary received more bad news Saturday as the league suspended defenseman Denis Gauthier for two games without pay for kneeing Vancouver's Sami Salo in the third period Friday.
Gauthier was suspended for a game in November 2002, and is considered a repeat offender by the league. He will miss Sunday's game against Edmonton and Monday's contest against Minnesota.
Even with the loss and the suspension, the Flames have had an amazing first half. With 41 points, Calgary has 15 more than it had through the same number of games last season, when it was 9-16-5-3.
The Oilers improved to 3-5-3 in December with a 6-2 win over Vancouver on Saturday.
Edmonton erased a one-goal deficit by scoring five unanswered goals. In all, six different Oilers scored and 11 registered at least one point.
With three wins in four meetings this season, the Flames have evened the all-time series between these western Canadian rivals 71-71-18.