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FGD 26: The 231st Battle of Alberta (8pm MT, CBC)

When the Calgary Flames and the Edmonton Oilers met on the first night of the season, both teams were dealing with the weight of expectations. The Flames had retooled a bit in the summer in an effort to line up more favourably against the Oilers, who were considered a potential contender for the Stanley Cup this season. The Oilers won that game 3-0. Since then, the teams have gone in significantly different directions. The Flames (14-10-1) welcome the Oilers (10-14-2) to the Saddledome tonight in the second of five Battles of Alberta this season, and the first one hosted by Calgary.

The puck drops at 8 p.m. MT on Sportsnet 960 The Fan and CBC.

For a view from the other side, head on over to OilersNation!

The Flames

Projected lines for tonight, courtesy of Daily Faceoff:

Gaudreau – Monahan (A) – Ferland
Tkachuk – Backlund – Frolik
Bennett – Jankowski – Jagr
Hathaway – Stajan – Brouwer (A)

Giordano (C) – D.Hamilton
Brodie – Hamonic
Kulak – Stone

Mike Smith makes his 23rd start of the season. He’s 12-8-1 with a 2.54 goals against average and a .924 save percentage. He’s coming off a shutout. He’s backed up by David Rittich, who has one NHL win in as many starts. No changes are expected in the Flames’ lineup, so Matt Bartkowski, Curtis Lazar and Freddie Hamilton are expected to be scratches.

The Flames played perhaps their most complete game of the season on Thursday, albeit against the NHL’s worst team. Johnny Gaudreau’s line was unlucky enough to not score, but the team generated 44 shots on goal and got two goals from Mark Jankowski’s line. If the Flames can get one more line cooking, they become a very tough team to match up against.

Calgary went 8-4-1 in November. They’ve allowed just one power play goal in their last six games, while scoring four in that span. Their special teams units aren’t fixed, and losing Kris Versteeg for a long while definitely hurts them, but they’re getting better.

(Here Come) The Oilers

Projected lines via Daily Faceoff:

Lucic (A) – McDavid (C) – Puljujarvi
Maroon – Nugent-Hopkins (A) – Slepyshev
Caggiula – Draisaitl – Strome
Khaira – Letestu – Kassian

Nurse – Gryba
Klefbom – Benning
Auvitu – Russell

2011 Flames sixth round pick Laurent Brossoit starts tonight. He’s 0-4-1 with a 3.60 goals against average and a .876 save percentage this season. He’s backed up by Nick Ellis, who has zero NHL wins or starts in his career. All indications are that Ryan Stanton, Mike Cammalleri and Nathan Walker are healthy extras.

What can you say about the Oilers? They have the best player in the league and they have a damn good line-up (on paper). Unfortunately, despite them having rock-solid possession numbers they haven’t been able to translate it into goals or wins often enough. They remain four games under .500, and Kris Russell’s own-goal against Toronto is just another bump in the road for a team that’s been defined by them this season.

Sooner or later, things will start breaking the other way… right?

Injury Report

Flames: Daniel Pribyl (knee) and Kris Versteeg (lower-body) are on the injured reserve.

Edmonton: Andrej Sekera (knee), Adam Larsson (upper-body) and Cam Talbot (upper-body) are on the injured reserve.

When Last We Met

This is the second of five meetings between these two teams. The Flames have lost five straight regular season games against the Oilers dating back to last season.

The Numbers

CGY EDM
Wins 14 10
Points 29 22
Adjusted Corsi 51.8% 52.5%
Power Play 21.2% 17.6%
Penalty Kill 75.0% 71.4%

Know Thy Enemy

Get some Oilers chatter in your feed tonight!

Sum It Up

It’s the Battle of Alberta. If you like hockey, you should be watching this. (And in the event you’re unable to watch, be sure to find somebody to describe it to you!)

FGD BROUGHT TO YOU BY PANAGO

Let Panago Pizza’s new #RoadToTheCup Hockey Combo fuel the game. Order one tonight.

  • class1div1

    GM has to be wondering how a 6 man 25 million defensive unit can preform with such inconsistency. Goals against would be catastrophic without Smith.Our defense should either offer up 1/3 there pay or grab there balls to remind themselves that they have a pair. .

  • Alberta Ice

    Post post game comment. That 3rd period was actually awful and awfully entertaining. Credit the Flames with every goal scored in the 3rd period. Riitich leaving the puck for Maroon’s tap in along with TJ’s redirect along with 4 Flame goals scored between made the last 8 minutes interesting. So the Calgary fans got a little more for their buck. Just didn’t end as the comeback of the year aka like the Anaheim Ducks vs Oil in last year’s playoff.