FGD #5: Home Ice Advantage – The Battle of Alberta

USATSI_8817316(1)
(Sergei Belski-USA Today Sports)

Tonight, live from the Scotiabank Saddledome, it’s the 225th meeting between the Calgary Flames and the Edmonton Oilers in franchise history! (And the 221st meeting ever between Calgary and Edmonton!)

The Flames are 1-3-0 after a good start and a flat finish in Winnipeg, while the Connor McDavid Era has begun with zero wins through four games in Edmonton. Rather than a clash of titans, tonight is a game between two teams scrambling to right their ships as the season lumbers on – with a combined record of 1-7-0.

Regardless, it’s an interesting game and a pretty important one for both sides. It goes at 8pm MT on CBC (with Paul Romanuk and Mike Johnson) and on Sportsnet 960 The Fan (with Derek Wills and Peter Loubardias).

For a look from the other side, head on over to check out OilersNation’s preview!

THE FLAMES

Update: lines from line rushes, sans Bennett.

Coach Hartley noted there won’t be any line-up changes tonight, so here’s yesterday’s lines via your pals (and mine) at Daily Faceoff:

Screen Shot 2015-10-15 at 6.09.43 PM

Screen Shot 2015-10-11 at 9.47.44 PM

The only change for the home side after last night is Jonas Hiller will start rather than Karri Ramo (or Joni Ortio). Hiller’s started twice and played pretty well both in Calgary’s win in Vancouver and in their loss in St. Louis, and he’s obviously the best Flames goalie right now between the two that have played games.

The Flames need to fix the same things they’ve needed to fix through their first four games: they need to play three good periods, they need to win more face-offs and have the puck more, they need to make smart decisions with the puck, and they absolutely need to generate some offense on the power-play.

The upside is that because it’s Edmonton, they’ll be emotionally engaged from the start. And they’ll need to be.

THE OILERS

Your projected line-up for the 0-4-0 Edmonton Oilers, via Daily Faceoff:

Screen Shot 2015-10-16 at 10.21.17 PM

Screen Shot 2015-10-16 at 10.21.33 PM

Cam Talbot starts in net.

The Oilers have a ton of talent but don’t have a lot of defensive structure right now, which is making it very tough on them to retrieve pucks and generate chances. That said, their line-up is also top-heavy, and teams can make a lot of hay targeting match-ups against their bottom-six.

WHEN LAST WE MET

The Flames and Oilers have played 224 times prior to tonight. Calgary holds the all-time edge, going 114-88-19-3 (with 112 of those wins coming since the move to Calgary). Oh, and they won all five games last year with Edmonton. The Oilers haven’t beaten Calgary since December 27, 2013.

ELSEWHERE

Brandon Hickey and the Boston University Terriers play the Wisconsin Badgers tonight in NCAA action. And in the OHL, Rasmus Andersson, Andrew Mangiapane and the Barrie Colts face the Kitchener Rangers.

HOME ICE HERO

Doris? She’s what I think of when I think about home ice heroes. In your hockey universe, who helps make great things happen off the ice? Who’s the zamboni driver, rink attendant, parent, coach or someone else that makes the on-ice magic possible? Nominate your Home Ice Hero and they could win a prize worth $5,000. Nominate your hero!

SUM IT UP

It’s not quite a must-win for the Flames, but it’s getting there. They need to make the Saddledome a tough place to play, and a good place to start would be by picking up a win against a winless Edmonton Oilers team tonight.

  • RedMan

    Well that was a real hard game to sit through. If thats the best this Flames team is going to muster we are going to be a lottery team.
    Just some of my two-bits worth of insight at this point of the season:

    1/ Hamilton has some real good moments, but give him a year to adjust, he’s 22, he’ll be worth picking up in a hockey pool next year. This year, he should be eased in on the second pairing. Expectations will not be met this year.

    2/I saw no one sacrificing & no heart. There was no one leading by example to changing the tone of this game. I think we had 1 2 on 1. Too many times pucks were just drifted to the net. BT should be concerned how we are going to score goals this year too.

    3/Hiller wasn’t that bad but I am so sick & tired of this 3 goaltender scenario. Trade Ramo or Hiller I don’t care who it is. Just move one & start getting Ortio into games, this is nuts. This team is not playoff bound this year & if they don’t smarten up, they will be a lottery team.

    4/My Lord, Oiler fans at the game acted like they won the Cup. It’s October guys, Flames stunk this game, both teams are 1-4. Congrats on finally beating the Flames, now you can see how we felt kicking your arses for the last 5-6 years. McDavid is going to be a great power play specialist by the way. He’s doing what Gaudreau did for us last year.

    5/Regression & still in rebuild was the eye test conclusion after tonight. We may be 8 games under .500 by the time Brodie gets back. 🙁 Mcrib is bang on, Russell is playing horrible, Gio looks like he’s saving himself for when Brodie gets back, Engellend isn’t very good & our forward lines had zero flow tonight & no I didn’t think the Oilers were that good, it was just the Flames were that bad.

    Conclusion: Going to be a long f#@*#g year.

      • Derzie

        :-} Had to throw that in to push a button. Cmon, you have to give me something after last night:-{

        He’s a good player & you know what, Gaudreau is too. They both can control power plays & set up zone rushes better than most players in the league. If Gaudreau was a #1 over-all pick, last year he would have been hyped as generational as well. We both have a pretty nice player to build around, just messing with you guys.

        • Derzie

          You can’t possibly believe yourself…. Gaudreau would be called “generational”? LOL.

          You realize in the last 30 years “generational” tag has been given to Crosby, Lindros, Lemieux, Gretzky and that’s pretty much it.

          Gaudreau MIGHT be good. He could top out at a good top 20 forward in the league. Maybe, if he can do get about 30 more points than he did last year.

          It’s embarrassing to start putting him in the same category as Lemieux and Gretz. Sorry it just is. Period. I get that Flames fans haven’t seen an elite player in a while, but he isn’t even in the same category as Hall and Eberle (talk to me when JG gets 85 points like Hall did earlier than JG made the NHL).

          And Hall & Eberle are so far from generational its not even the same universe.

          We shall see if CMD can fill the shoes. Until he does, it’s just talk. But saying JG is generational is a complete laugh.

  • RedMan

    Suck it Oilers!

    The HNC’s Oiler announcers were so annoying, the McDavid replays after every whistle, the refs clearly have directions to make sure the Oilers win one… plus Flames were missing 6 of there top 3 guys…

    However there were lots of positives to take away from this game for Flames fans, as the Flames virtually outplayed everyone but the refs, Engelland destroyed Gizdick

    Good win though, really. Only one team looked ready for this one. Bragging rights go to the Oil until the next one.