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GAME: Calgary Flames (37-20-7) at Edmonton Oilers (33-23-10).
TIME: Thursday, 9 p.m. EST.
The Battle of Alberta between provincial rivals Calgary and Edmonton is always heated. It becomes more so when one of those teams are in first place.
The Flames and Oilers, both in the thick of the Northwest Division race, square off for the seventh of eight games when they meet at Rexall Place.
Calgary has dominated the series since the end of the 2002-03, recording nine wins and a tie in 13 games. Of the three losses, one came in overtime and the other in a shootout.
The teams meet for the final time in the regular season on April 1 in Calgary.
The first-place Flames have alternated wins and losses since the Olympic break, going 4-3-0. Yet, they hold a one-point edge over Colorado after splitting a home-and-home series with the Avalanche.
Calgary lost 3-0 Sunday to Colorado, as Avs rookie goaltender Peter Budaj earned his first NHL shutout less than a week after starter David Aebischer was traded to Montreal.
The Flames moved back into first place Monday after a 4-3 win home over Colorado, giving coach Darryl Sutter the 400th NHL win.
Jarome Iginla scored twice Monday to reach 30 goals for the fifth straight season.
"We didn't like the way we woke up this morning and saw they had jumped ahead of us," Iginla said. "That's what makes these back-to-backs so much fun is if you lose, you get a chance to get right back at it."
This game starts a season-high seven-game road swing for the Flames, and includes consecutive games against Northwest Division rival Minnesota. The road trip ends March 26 against Pacific Divison-leading Dallas.
Edmonton snapped a four-game losing streak with a 2-1 win Tuesday over the Wild in the second of two consecutive games between the teams.
Goaltender Dwayne Roloson stopped 30 shots and held his former team scoreless until the third period to win his first game in four tries as an Oiler. Edmonton acquired him from Minnesota on March 8 for a 2006 first-round draft pick and future considerations.
"I'm getting to know the guys a little bit and kind of getting into a groove," said Roloson, who pointed to Monday's practice in Minnesota as a key marker in his progress. "So I've got to take this and use it to create something good."
Edmonton and Vancouver are tied for seventh in the Western Conference, two points ahead of ninth-place Anaheim. The Oilers and Canucks will wrap up their season series with three consecutive games - two in Vancouver - from March 21-25.
STANDINGS: Flames - 81 points, 1st place, Northwest Division. Oilers - 76 points, 3rd place (tied), 5 PB, Northwest Division.
TEAM LEADERS: Flames - Iginla, 30 goals and 50 points; Dion Phaneuf and Andrew Ference, 24 assists; Darren McCarty, 102 PIM. Oilers - Smyth, 31 goals; Ales Hemsky, 50 assists and 66 points; Jaroslav Spacek, 86 PIM.
SPECIAL TEAMS: Flames - Power play: 18.0 percent (67 for 372), 13th in NHL. Penalty killing: 83.7 percent (328 for 392), 11th. Oilers - Power play: 18.4 percent (75 for 408), 10th. Penalty killing: 83.0 percent (332 for 400), 14th.
GOALTENDERS: Flames - Miikka Kiprusoff (33-17-7, 8 SO, 2.17 GAA); Brian Boucher (4-6-0, 0, 3.66). Oilers - Roloson (7-19-2, 1, 3.07); Jussi Markkanen (15-12-6, 1, 3.13).
SEASON SERIES: Flames, 4-2.
LAST MEETING: Jan. 23; Flames, 3-1. At Edmonton, Alberta, Kristian Huselius and Iginla scored in a 2:29 span in the second period to break a 1-1 tie, and Kiprusoff stopped 30 shots. Hemsky scored Edmonton's lone goal.
ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Flames - 13-13-4 on the road; Oilers - 15-12-5 at home.
|Apr 01 '06||CGY 4 at EDM 1||K. Huselius|
|Mar 16 '06||CGY 2 at EDM 3 - OT||S. Horcoff|
|Jan 23 '06||CGY 3 at EDM 1||K. Huselius|
|Dec 31 '05||EDM 5 at CGY 6||K. Huselius|
|Dec 19 '05||CGY 4 at EDM 5||F. Pisani|
|Nov 25 '05||EDM 2 at CGY 1 - SO||F. Pisani|
|Oct 20 '05||EDM 1 at CGY 3||C. Kobasew|
|Oct 15 '05||EDM 0 at CGY 3||D. Langkow|