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CALGARY FLAMES (22-15-8) at
EDMONTON OILERS (20-21-4)
Start Time: 6:08 p.m. MST
Television: Rogers Sportsnet West
Radio: 630 CHED, Oilers Radio Network and online at edmontonoilers.com. Game Notes | Oilers/Flames Stats Comparison | Player Head-to-Head Statistics Edmonton has a chance to not only defeat their provincial rivals tonight they can also climb back to the .500 mark and win their fourth game in four tries on their current five-game homestand.
The last time the Edmonton Oilers and Calgary Flames met, the two teams were battling for position in the Western Conference standings. Edmonton at 7-11-1 and Calgary at 7-8-3. The Oilers have been a slightly above .500 team since that time but Calgary – on the strength of a hot December – has moved into a tie for top spot in the Northwest Division and solidly into a playoff spot.
In December, the Flames put together a record of 9-1-4 and then followed that up with three more wins to start the New Year. Last Tuesday was only Calgary’s second regulation loss in a span of 17 games. They followed that up with a shootout loss to the New York Islanders at home Friday night.
Calgary’s success can certainly be looked at by Edmonton as concrete proof that a hot stretch can get any team back in the playoff race. The Oilers’ play has been strong of late and if they keep it up a playoff spot is not out of the realm of possibility.
The Oilers are now five points behind St. Louis for the eighth and final playoff spot in the Northwest Division after winning their third straight on Thursday night, 5-2 over the Phoenix Coyotes.
LAST GAME: Oilers 5, Coyotes 2
This is the fourth meeting of the season between these two Alberta rivals and second at Rexall Place. Calgary won 3-1 in Edmonton and 4-1 at the Saddledome in Calgary while Edmonton won 4-2 in Calgary in November. Just The Facts...
Pre-Game Video... Souray, Garon, Cogliano & MacTavish talk about tonight's Battle of Alberta. 700K Pre-Game Audio... Pre-Game vs. Calgary: Andrew Cogliano
Pre-Game vs. Calgary: Mathieu Garon
Pre-Game vs. Calgary: Robert Nilsson
Pre-Game vs. Calgary: Sheldon Souray
Pre-Game vs. Calgary: Craig MacTavish
Listen to all (in order): Cogliano, Garon, Nilsson, Souray and MacTavish
More News The Other Side Post-game notes, quotes and anecdotes - Notes, quotes and anecdotes from the Flames-Islanders game Friday at the Pengrowth Saddledome. ...more Flames hit the bowling lanes - The Calgary Flames hit the lanes this week to help raise money for Ronald McDonald House at the Rhett Warrener and Friends Celebrity Bowl. ...more Item of the Game Tonight's item of the game is a Domination Long Sleeve Top. (Regular $59.99 on sale for $39.99) From the Fans
Click here to read tonight's gameday thread on the Oilers message board. Odds and Ends
Autograph Session photos and video - On Saturday, every Edmonton Oilers player went to West Edmonton Mall to take part in the team's autograph session. The players were spread out across the mall at 11 different tables. View video and photos from the autograph session. ...more Listen to Jarret Stoll on Oilers Live - Oilers centre Jarret Stoll was this week's guest on Oilers Live. Hosted by Morley Scott, Stoll answered fans' questions for 30 minutes. If you missed the show, follow the link to listen to the podcast. ...more From the Wire
The Edmonton Oilers have turned a January homestand into a mission to save their season. Their provincial rivals aren't looking to help the cause.
When the Oilers host the Calgary Flames on Sunday, they'll be eyeing their fourth straight win, which would be the longest winning streak for Edmonton in more than a calendar year.
Edmonton (20-21-4) had lost seven of eight and was fading from playoff contention when it began a five-game homestand on Jan. 5. The Oilers have won the first three at Rexall Place, though, to pull within five points of the Western Conference's final playoff spot.
They beat Phoenix 5-2 on Thursday, when they took a 3-0 lead in the first 10 minutes and went on to match their season high in goals. Mathieu Garon had 31 saves in net.
"We knew what a crucial point of the season this was," center Kyle Brodziak said. "Five games at home, especially playing some teams that we are going to be battling with for those last playoff spots. We knew tonight was a huge test and we did a good job in it."
Including a 4-0 win over the New York Islanders on Monday, the Oilers have outscored their last two opponents 9-2. Center Shawn Horcoff, who leads the team with 18 goals and 41 points, has two goals and four assists in the last three games.
The Oilers have also scored at least one power-play goal in five straight games - their longest such streak since they did it in six in a row in December 2005.
"We've talked about confidence being the most important thing in the game and getting the goal scoring we've had in the last two games really solidifies the confidence on our team," Oilers coach Craig MacTavish said. "There are a lot of good things happening right now. We've got more confident players on the team right now than we've had at any point so far."
Edmonton hasn't won four straight since a five-game winning streak in November 2006, which also included their last four-game home winning streak.
But they've lost three in a row at home to Calgary (22-15-8), getting outscored 11-3 and going 0-for-12 on the power play in those meetings. They've also lost six of eight overall in the series.
Flames goalie Miikka Kiprusoff has a 1.82 career goals-against average against the Oilers.
However, the Flames have lost two straight following a five-game winning streak, including a 5-4 shootout loss to the Islanders on Friday. Calgary outshot New York 42-25, but Kiprusoff continued to struggle. He has a 3.57 GAA in his last three games, and a 2.85 mark for the season - nearly one-half goal above his career 2.36 average.
Calgary general manager Darryl Sutter said he is looking for a backup goalie to give Kiprusoff more time off, as he has started 44 of the Flames' 45 games.
"If we have any problem with our goaltending, it's that he's played a lot," Sutter said. "It's probably no different than anybody that's looking at an experienced goaltender, they're probably in the same boat as us. Experience gives you another chance if you are in the playoff race or you are fighting for the division title and it also gives everyone the confidence."
Calgary has won eight of its last nine road games.