BOA Round 214: Flames at Oilers

Ladies and gentlemen, tonight is the fifth meeting of the season (and 214th meeting overall) between the Calgary Flames and the Edmonton Oilers. It’s their last meeting until next season, too. I’d say the season series is up for grabs, as each team has won twice – the road team always won – but the Flames needed overtime in both wins at Rexall. The Flames need a win to tie the season series in terms of points earned.

That’s about as far as this game goes in terms of “significance.”

Calgary has 63 points and 12 games left. Edmonton has 59 points and 11 games left. The gap can close considerably with an Edmonton win, while a Calgary win probably cements their draft placement.

THE HOME TEAM

It goes without saying that it’s been a disappointing year in Edmonton. I don’t think they spent time and money bringing in Dallas Eakins to lead the club to 29th place. The Oilers lost two nights ago to Buffalo, but have been playing solid lately, winning five of their last 10.

Lines, via Daily Faceoff:

Hall – Gagner – Perron
Lander – Nugent-Hopkins – Eberle
Hendricks – Gordon – Pitlick
Gazdic – Smyth – Jones

Ference – Schultz
Marincin – Petry
Klefbom – Fraser

Fasth

Viktor Fasth gets his first Battle of Alberta start. He was 2-0-0 with a shutout in two games against the Flames while with Anaheim.

The Oilers obviously have some skilled players (that top line, that second line) and are starting to figure out the “depth role player” riddle. That third line is actually pretty solid. But the defense is a bit dodgy, so you can figure out why they are in the general area that they are, standings-wise.

Oddly, Edmonton has the edge on Calgary on the power-play, the penalty kill and in five-on-five goal differential. How come Calgary’s higher in the standings? Probably because Calgary’s gotten some big contributions from their back-end (Giordano & Brodie, primarily) and some from their depth guys, while Edmonton remains top-heavy.

But if they can ever build something around that top group, wowzers. Granted, we’ve been saying this for years, but the Oilers could be scary-good if the guys building the team had a plan besides “draft high.”

THE ROAD TEAM

The Flames are smarting a bit after last night. On one hand, they scored five goals! On the other, they gave up six. To Nashville, who rarely scores. Yikes.

Lines, via Daily Faceoff:

Cammalleri – Backlund – Byron
Glencross – Stajan – Hudler
Agostino – Monahan – Bouma
Westgarth – Colborne – McGrattan

Giordano – Brodie
Butler – Russell
Smid – Wotherspoon

Ramo

Karri Ramo returns after being out since before the Olympics with an MCL sprain. Joni Ortio returns to the AHL and Joey MacDonald is the back-up for the rest of the year.

Now that they’re getting healthy, the Flames are rapidly beginning to resemble an NHL team. Kenny Agostino makes his Battle of Alberta debut after making his NHL debut last night, playing 12:40 in the loss to the Preds. Returning to the line-up is Kevin Westgarth – slotting in for T.J. Galiardi on the bottom line – and God, I hope Westgarth doesn’t try to fight Gazdic again.

The Flames have also won five of their last ten games, so they’re about as “hot” as the Edmonton Oilers right now.

SUM IT UP

It’s a late-season game between two teams that are well out of the playoff picture! The best each club can hope for some emotion in this tilt, as each group tries to gain some momentum to close out the year.

Let’s hope that this time next season, these games have a little bit more significance in the standings, because hockey’s better when the Flames and Oilers are both doing well and Alberta is a place visiting teams fear to tread.

  • BitGeek

    Just wondering, last game with Hall playing ridiculous minutes: did anyone else notice our sudden lack of offensive depth thanks to injuries to Ebs & Yak? Hemsky’s value, as I said before, was that he could move up and down the line-up from a #3RW to #1RW. Just saying it’s far worth having that on your team than letting it go for pucks.

    • Bean-counting cowboy

      You are right, but does that really matter in this season. If the Oilers had a hope of making the playoffs at the deadline you would be right. But they weren’t even close so you are wrong.

      Look at every team and imagine how they would fair if both their top right wingers went down. They wouldn’t have the depth to cover.

    • Bean-counting cowboy

      For fun, my combined team goes like this (based on who is playing tonight):

      Hall/RNH/Perron

      Cammy/Backlund/Eberle

      Glencross/Stajan/Hudler

      Hendricks/Gordon/Bouma

      Gio/Brodie

      Ference/Schultz

      Russell/Petry

      Scrivens backed up by Ramo.

      I think this team would have a shot at the NHL playoffs. Tried to fit everyone into a good role based on their skills.

      Left off Gagner as he doesn’t fit in that top 6 and is doesn’t really fit the bottom 6 role. Same goes for Monahan. Kid can put up some points in sheltered role, but really needs more time to make this team.

      Agree? Disagree? What would yours look like?

      • beloch

        Going by possession stats, you’ve actually put together a significantly worse blueline than the Flames are playing tonight. I’d include Marincin before Ference.

        • Bean-counting cowboy

          Lol. I was waiting for that comment. I was thinking that in my head when putting everything down, but was wanting to make the Oil fans feel better about themselves, cuz I just don’t get any pleasure out of slagging them anymore.

      • ubermiguel

        Soooo…between our two clubs you put together one moderately ok NHL team, and the top 6 is still too small. What happened to the Death Valley of the 80s?!

        I like Smid more than Russell, but they’re probably the 6/7 guy anyways.

        • Bean-counting cowboy

          Yep, both teams could use more size.

          Russell has been our 3rd best defender this year IMO.

          And I would agree with Beloch that Marincin may bump Ference down, or off this team completely after looking at those possession stats. Didn’t realize it was that bad for Ference.

      • Bean-counting cowboy

        Interesting construct. My main problem is the first two lines. Think RNH/Backlund/Monahan fairly interchangeable, each with their own strengths and weaknesses. Backlund best defensively & possession(?), Monahan best scorer(?), RNH best overall… Hudler probably better on 2nd line and two small wingers on 2nd line also an issue, especially with another “smallish” centre. Overall not a great mix even between the two teams together.

        • Bean-counting cowboy

          I would not consider Backlund interchangeable with Monohan at all – not this year anyways. Backlund has better point per game numbers and is doing it facing the toughest competition on the team. It’s really been a break out year for him.

          I would almost be inclined to swap Backlund and RNH, as Backlund & Hall can at least face the toughest competition and still drive play.

          As far as Hudler – I could get on board with moving him to the second line and swapping Backs & RNH as discussed, then give that 2nd line sheltered minutes and let the Glencross/Stajan/Eberle line face tougher comp.

          “Overall not a great mix even between the two teams together” – soooo…. what would you change?

      • watkinator

        I was thinking along the same lines. That’s a way more complete team for sure. But given that we’re mixing Oil and Flame I’m still going to name this team the Tire Fires.

    • BurningSensation

      Unlike the Oilers we prefer our draft picks to actually be ready for the NHL before we make them regulars.

      Watching your 1st overalls drown in their own end has a special kind of schadenfreude to it.

          • beloch

            Sven was not a #1 pick either. My goal was merely to point out that Baertschi is far from done in the NHL.

            Monahan has more goals and fewer assists than Gagner did in his first season. What’s interesting is that Monahan has scored more goals this season than Gagner has scored in any season. Monahan’s 5on5 corsi on, while not good, is also better than Gagner’s is this season. Gagner is a great example of a player who started strong and then didn’t develop.

            Most people underestimate how much a hockey player’s ability is due to nurture rather than nature. These kids don’t arrive fully formed at the draft. They need to develop a lot. I’m really concerned about how none of the Oiler’s #1 picks have developed strong defensive play. This suggests a systemic ailment in Edmonton.

          • 24% body fat

            The Sven comment was for playfull trashing, and as I just recently said what I said about Gagner is exactly my point with monohan. You never now.

            Lets also not forget he is shooting 18 percent. Bring that down to 14 and how many goals does he have.

            The final on Sven is that he is definitely our of favour with Burke

      • 24% body fat

        and your using baerstchi as an example., he was clearly rushed in and now he is done.

        Monohan is scoring goals but his production for a late ager draft pick is also not going to be as high as gagner and extremely young pick in his draft year.

        RNH does not drown in his own end. Hall is better than monohan was in his own end.

        Also the oilers brought first overall picks in early.

        Monohan was 6th,

        you should probably get your facts straight. Gagner was the only one rushed in and he played remarkably well for an 18 year old.

        ANy oiler that was considered to be our teams next one is in the NHL and is a top line player.

        Flames fans thought Sven was going to break 50 points this year.

        LMFAO bahahahahahahah.

        Next up Geadreau all 5 foot 7 of him.

        • Bean-counting cowboy

          Comparing Oiler 1st overalls with any of the Flames young guys is ridiculous. The facts are clear…Oilers have mismanaged, misguided, overpaid and totally ruined there young guys. It’s obvious they have tuned out the coaches and will leave that disaster of an organization at the first opportunity.

          Congratulations at yet another great year. Also the improvement the Oilers have shown they may actually finish 28-27 this year. And all that talent….go back to Oilernation troller!

          • 24% body fat

            uh this is on both sites, and oilersnation was the founding site, so if anything you are the troll, you should know that BOA is on both sites, and that trash talk is encourage to generate hits for the site.

            Get it together

          • 24% body fat

            It is consistently flames fans that are too stupid to figure it out that these are posted on both sites. It is flames fans that call out troll when someone says something about their team and don’t have a clue that it is on both sites,

            Let me guess you got your first flames jersey in 2004?

          • THRNHJE

            If YOU ARE going to trash someone’s reading comprehension you should probably have learned the grade 3 grammar lesson that teaches you to properly differentiate homophones.

          • THRNHJE

            If YOU ARE going to trash someone’s reading comprehension you should probably have learned the grade 3 grammar lesson that teaches you to properly differentiate homophones.

        • BurningSensation

          In the order you raised them;

          – Sven has been developing quite nicely thanks, and he is currently trending better than Yakupov your prize first overall

          – Gagner’s best season is still his rookie year. Boy, you guys sure have done a bang up job developing him…into a total liability at both ends of the icee.

          – RNH has a negative Corsi. In other words, drowning.

          – Hall is four years older than Monahan, I’d expect even a meathead like him can learn to play in his own end better than a raw rookie.

          – Not a complete sentence. I don’t even know what that is supposed to mean.

          – Monahan was indeed picked 6th. Bravo, you got one right!

          – Gagner played ‘remarkably well’ as an 18 year old. Against cherry competition, with favourable zone starts, and without being over 50% at the dot.

          – Really? Yakkupov is a ‘top-line player’? I’ll give you Hall (cuz he is actually very good), but both the Nuge and the Yak are floundering.

          – Oilers fans thought they would finish ahead of Calgary this year! Too funny.

          – Next up, a Calder trophy for Gaudreau. Book it.

          • 24% body fat

            actually gagners minutes at the end of his rookie year were not cherry, and monohans points are majority pp points. Mono has the easier minutes

            Sven is not in the NHL, nuff said

            you just compared monohan to Hall, credibility lost

            Geadreau has not played a pro game and flames nation has crown him an elite player, hahahahah

            Yakupov has has a struggle this year agreed, he will bounce back,

            My point with Gagner is that no matter how good you look in your first year its not set in stone, Ie. Monohan

          • seve927

            Monahan’s points are mostly pp? Using some of that Edmonton math? The rest of the world would say he has less than 20% pp points. But that’s what makes you morons so special.

          • BurningSensation

            Again, in the order you raised them;

            – Believe me when I say this, I hope to God the Oilers continue to invest in Gagner. Seriously, it is the best possible thing for all Flames fans everywhere that you continue to employ him.

            – Sven is indeed not in the NHL, he is in the AHL where he is developing a solid NHL game in all three zones. I completely understand that allowing prospects to develop in the minors is foreign to you, let alone having them develop good defensive habits.

            – Actually it was you who compared Hall to Monahan – and I agree that it is unfair comparison given age, draft position, etc. Maybe next time you’ll make a more valid comparison.

            – Nobody has crowned Gaudreau an ‘elite player’. Elite prospect, definitely (Hobey Baker, here we come).

            – Yakupov will indeed bounce back (or rather, just get better, he’s never been very good), once the Oilers trade him away for pennies on the $.

            – As somebody already pointed out Monahan already has more goals in his rookie year than Gagner has ever scored in a full season. Please, keep him as your #2C, I’m begging you. While I’m at it, I’m writing a letter to Darryl Katz begging him to keep Kevin Lowe and Dallas Eakins forever.

          • BurningSensation

            Wow, reading comprehension really isn’t your thing, is it?

            Originally you said all your 1st overalls are ‘top line players’.

            I pointed out that Yakupov (and The Nuge for that matter) simply aren’t, and that Yakupov wasn’t yet ‘Very Good’.

            You’ll note that I did not say ‘Yakupov has never been good’ – he was in fact good, for the 2nd half of his rookie season, but not ‘Very Good’, and certainly not a 1st line player.

            You really aren’t keeping your end up in this BOA if you can’t respond to what us Flames fans write, and you are an abject failure if you can’t even remember what it is I am responding to – with a written record of it right before your eyes.

            Get it together indeed.

          • M22

            Burning Sensation (you know, there are creams and pills for this),

            I implore you to stop this beating you’re giving to Overpaid Wild. It’s a clear mismatch, surely you see this. Ignore the replies, this is not an even fight. I likes me a good argument, but this?…..it’s kinda like Gazdic vs Westgarth 😉

          • TayLordBalls

            Sweet response Burningsensation!!

            Any organization with only one of those 1st overalls would have rebuilt and be finishing in the top five for the last 7 years!

            Instead the Oilers chronically lose and along with the New York Nicks perhaps rate as the worst franchise in pro-sports history.

  • BurningSensation

    Been paying attention to some other sites that have comments about the Oil and Flames game tonight. Man, am I ever getting sick of being pissed on! Edmonton will win tonight even though when it comes to work ethic, the flames beat us hands down. Time for the boys to pony up and even though the rest of the league looks at both teams as losers….and the game means nothing in the overall picture, I still want the OIL to win regardless.

    OIL 3, Flames 2.

  • ChinookArchYYC

    Last year Oilers won the last 2 meaningless games of the season and went from 6th pick to 7th.

    No biggie they would have drafted Sean Monahan.

    I’m glad they won those last 2 games last year they carried that momentum into this year. They are a much better team for it.

  • beloch

    Combined blueline salary:
    Edmonton: $10.8M
    Calgary: $19.0M

    These two teams clearly place completely different values on defense. Edmonton isn’t getting good value for what they’re spending either. $3.25M of that is for Ference (5on5 Corsi On: -15.77, Corsi Rel: -7.1)!

    The Oilers have a bunch of offensive superstars who are rapidly approaching peak and who do score very well, even if possession and defensive play are not their strong points. They’ve utterly neglected defense in favor of offense. Can someone please explain to me how the Oilers are still 23rd in the league for scoring, and just 0.05ppg ahead of the Flames?

    Anyways, here’s to another Battle of Alberta. It might not be the most meaningful edition of the BoA in history, but it’s still what our two clubs live for!

    • mesa

      Oilers have zero superstars, though I’ll give you Hall is very good at least in the offensive zone, other areas he’s just plain offensive. Sure glad Edmonton has such a great offence, yup, a couple more goals than the Flames who have “zero talent…”

      And for once would you have some pride and win a game at home, you’ve hogged the top picks long enough. Though, I see Oiler fans have already accepted the built-in excuse of a tough finishing schedule so if you can’t win anything for the rest of the season its certainly not because the team is mailing it in or is just plain awful.

  • vetinari

    BOA!!!!!!

    This used to be a “knock-out, drag-out” street fight for all the marbles… now it’s like being challenged to a tickle fight by a tired panda after a Sunday brunch…

  • ChinookArchYYC

    Oh it’s going to be fun watching Sweat Pants Nation jeer their own team from the comfort of my TV in Calgary. Truthfully, the Flames rebuild is just starting and it’s been painful at times, but most of us are quite happy with the progress and we are excited about the future of our team. On the other hand, it’s been an absolute pleasure going to ON and reading the comment section, after each Oiler loss (and there’s been a lot of them!). Man, things are bad in the provincial capital, and the bitterness and vitriol toward the Oilers is priceless.

    Keep it up Edmonton! Our rebuild is so much easier to take when we look North, or should I say below the Flames in the standings.

  • 24% body fat

    All I want is an Oilers win and a Ryan Smyth PP goal. Eberle’s return is big because Pitlick can get bumped down to a more familiar role for him on an energy line. I’m hoping he gets more ice time tonight and shows well.

    I’ll say 3-2 Oilers. Boyd Gordon gets the winner after some tremendous forechecking by Hendricks and Pitlick.

    • Reidja

      A Ryan Smyth power play goal? Jesus…

      As a Flames fan, I’m hoping the Oilers play like they get effing paid to play professional hockey. That is our only hope of an interesting and competitive game.

  • vetinari

    Wow. All the talk about who’s players are better? We’re talking about the 26th overall team taking on the 29th overall team for absolutely nothing other than to see what they have in their AHL cupboards… let the battle begin!

  • Bucknuck

    Normally I don’t care about draft position, I just want the team to win. But I’m conflicted with this one. After the Oil dropped an egg against Buffalo, I really stopped thinking they were making progress, and I have ‘who cares now’ feeling.

    But you know what I really care about? I want the Oil to get one of Draisaitl, Reinhart, or Ekblad.

    So catching Calgary in the standings is a real detriment to my desires. So I think I will view this as a “can’t lose” affair. If they beat Calgary, then that’s great… and if they don’t… well that is OK too.

  • Rockmorton65

    I get a real kick out of listening to the Oilers talk like the Flames did before the rebuild.

    “We’re only one player away from contending.” Only for the Oilers it’s “We just need a top line defenseman, we just need an elite goaltender.”

    You could put Weber and Lundqvist on this team and they will still miss the playoffs.

    The system is flawed. The players and fans have been duped. Time to get the white flag out of the dryer.

  • Chainsawz

    There’s a BOA tonight? Been hard staying interested in who the Oilers are playing and when. Now I’m at least 6 tall boys behind and it’s less than 3 hours till puck drop. Eat ____ Flames!

  • TheresAlwaysNextYear

    looking forward to gazdic laying the smack down incase of possible retribution. gazda vs mcgratton round 2 would basically determine who the best enforcer in the NHL is.

    • RedMan

      Gazdic is an idiot… challenges people with his visor strapped tightly to his head, likes to hurt little people. Not on the same page as McGratton, who follows the “code”.

      Gazdick fits in well with edmonton’s character/persona… cheap shot chicken-*****

        • RedMan

          you’ll notice lotsa guys wear the straps loose enough that the helmets fall off or they take them off… Gazdick wears his so tight it’s probably a two man job to get it off. can’t you just be honest enough to admit what a bunch of sucker punchers the oilers are?

          • Mo Playoffs Mo Problems

            So if I’m understanding you right, you’re saying Gazdic should break an NHL rule because “some guy in Winnipeg” did it one time and didn’t get an extra penalty?

            Got it.

          • Mo Playoffs Mo Problems

            I did.

            Don Cherry’s rationale of “it’s only 2 minutes” for Gazdic to take the extra penalty for taking his helmet off in a fight wasn’t super convincing.

          • beloch

            If Gazdic takes off his helmet and Westgarth doesn’t, that’s 2 minutes for Gazdic. However, the code says that if one fighter removes his helmet then the other one does too, and Westgarth follows the code. You’d get a fair fight and coincidental minors on top of the fighting majors.

          • Mo Playoffs Mo Problems

            I suspect that’s what they were talking about when they went to the box.

            It wouldn’t surprise me if they went again tonight and they both took their helmets off. But suggesting that Gazdic should just take his helmet off and volunteer his team for an extra minor penalty is asinine.

          • The Soup Fascist

            … And if Westgarth doesn’t take off his helmet?? Gazdic puts his team down a man and puts himself at a disadvantage in the fight.

            Gazdic is in a no win situation because of two dumb rules the NHL put in.

            Hate the game ….. don’t hate the player.

            Anytime an argument starts with ” I agree with Don Cherry” … ‘Nuff said.

          • Randaman

            If GazdicHEAD didn’t have a visor protecting him he would still be on the ice. Don Cherry counted the number of punches he took to the visor. Yup..a real fighter..a real man!!

          • The Soup Fascist

            I hope youre not senile like cherry. Gazdic can either fight with the visor on, or take it off and take an extra 2minutes. we can maybe pool some donations together for special education for you if this is still going over your head. my cousin is retarded, I know how hard it can be

      • Burnward

        Luke is far from an idiot and would be the first guy to remove his visor or take off his helmet in a fight if it was allowed,don’t be surprised if he turns out to be a very dependable bottom six player for a long time, he is a good skater and has improved immensely this year. As far as McGratton I couldn’t agree with you more, after what he has been through and his willingness to talk about it could even save another tough guys life, these men have an awful tough job to do, unlike some people on this site they have to back up their words .

        • RedMan

          what do you mean, “he would take it off, if it was allowed”?

          fighting isn’t allowed, but that doesn’t stop him.

          He can take his helmet off just like others do, or wear the strap loose enough that it comes off.

          Yes McG has class for owning up to his issues and beating them. Gazd. needs to man up and loose the visor in a fight.

          • JSR

            I meant he would not have a visor if he didn’t have to and if the fighters were allowed to remove their helmets he would(new rule is a penalty and linesmen jump in), what good would it do to have a loose chin strap for everything but fighting? Its not like you can loosen it just before the fight, you probably don’t watch many Oiler games when they aren’t playing Calgary, you are wrong about Luke.

          • The Soup Fascist

            A guy using a fake name tells an NHL player (who has ducked absolutely no one) to “man up”. The term “dripping with irony” comes to mind.

            The guts it takes to drop the flippers, especially at this level where one punch can end your career is significant – ask Ivanins. Hats off to McG, Gadzooks and any others who have the guts to put it on the line.

            Far more noble than guys like you (and me), “Jeff” hiding behind veils of anonymity and chirping, no?

  • beloch

    Forget about combining the players. If the Oilers could straight up swap their coaching staff for the Flames staff, the Oilers would be fighting for a playoff spot.

    The over achieving Flames and the under achieving Oilers are a direct result of their respective coaching staffs.

    Hartley is humble, seasoned, thoughtful and Eakins is arrogant, inexperienced, and delusional.