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!
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?
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.
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.