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FGD 31: The Battle of Alberta Rematch (7pm MT, SN West)

Less than a full day after their big win over Nashville, the Calgary Flames (19-9-2, 40 points) are facing another big test as they head up Highway 2 to face the Edmonton Oilers (15-12-2, 32 points) in the second Battle of Alberta of the 2018-19 season. Their first meeting this season was a tremendously entertaining, spirited affair.

The action kicks off at 7 p.m. MT on Sportsnet West and Sportsnet 960 The Fan!

For a look from the other side, visit our chums over at OilersNation!

The Flames

Projected lines, via Daily Faceoff:

Gaudreau – Monahan – Lindholm
Tkachuk – Ryan – Bennett
Mangiapane – Jankowski – Neal
Peluso – Quine – Hathaway

Hanifin – Hamonic
Brodie – Andersson
Kylington – Prout

David Rittich most likely starts for the Flames, backed up by Mike Smith – though we’re waiting official word on tonight’s starter. The projected healthy scratches are Austin Czarnik and Rinat Valiev, while Mark Giordano serves the final game of his suspension. Ryan Lomberg is in the AHL, so his NHL suspension is frozen until he’s eventually called back up to the big leagues.

The Flames are one of the hottest teams in the entire NHL, with an 8-1-1 record in their last 10 games. They’re 14-4-2 since their Oct. 25 drubbing at the hands of the Pittsburgh Penguins and, to their credit, really haven’t taken many nights off in that span. If the question is “Who are the Calgary Flames?”, we might be at the point of the season where we can say this is what they are.

They may be vulnerable to line matching give their injuries and suspensions – particularly given that Ken Hitchcock can put Connor McDavid or Ryan Nugent-Hopkins out against Dalton Prout or Anthony Peluso – but 80% of their roster is pretty formidable these days. If the Flames can work around their limitations, which may amount to stapling Prout and Peluso to the bench for much of the evening, they should have a fighting chance for two more points.

The Oilers

Projected lines, via Daily Faceoff:

Chiasson – McDavid – Draisaitl
Khaira – Nugent-Hopkins – Puljujarvi
Zykov – Spooner – Rattie
Lucic – Brodziak – Kassian

Klefbom – Larsson
Nurse – Russell
Gravel – Benning

Mikko Koskinen starts for the Oilers, backed up by Cam Talbot. Their extras are Chris Wideman, Jason Garrison and Cooper Marody.

The Oilers have won three of their last four dating back to the beginning of December. They’re also seemingly finding their offensive swagger, as they just drubbed the Minnesota Wild by a 7-2 score on Friday night – their top line is really starting to gel nowadays.

Their key to victory is likely maintaining their composure and playing a structured game. If they get more focused on sending messages to the likes of Matthew Tkachuk (or Peluso and Prout) instead of trying to out-work a skilled Flames team, they might lose this one.

The Numbers

CGY EDM
Wins 19 15
Points 40 32
Corsi Close 54.6% 49.5%
Power Play 22.9% 19.8%
Penalty Kill 77.4% 76.7%

Injury Report

The Flames are without Mikael Backlund, Juuso Valimaki, Michael Frolik and Michael Stone.

The Oilers are without Tobias Rieder, Andrej Sekera and Drake Caggiula.

Season Series

This is the second of four Battles of Alberta in 2018-19. The Flames beat Edmonton 4-2 back on Nov. 17. They’ll play again Jan. 19 in Edmonton and then Apr. 6 in Calgary on the final day of the season.

Know Thy Enemy

Your Oilers Twitter follows for tonight:

FGD brought to you by ATB Financial

From peewee to the pros, Albertans love the atmosphere, energy, and life lessons that take place at rinks across the province. And where there’s an arena, you’ll find an ATB branch nearby—with our team members cheering and fundraising along with you. See more information at ATB.com.

    • Luter 1

      That unfortunately was a flaming pile of horsecrap from the Flame in intensity from most everyone. Hamonic and Raz were bad. How can we come up with that effort in what probably was the biggest game so far this year. Should of been 10 points instead of 6 difference in the standings. 1st place teams don’t come up flat in big games, come on boys.

  • Off the wall

    McDavid will be asking for a trade by seasons end, the last game coming against Calgary April 6.

    By then he’ll be sick of playing for old Hitch and his trap game.
    Poor McD, he’s going to desert the Oilers.

  • FlamesFanOtherCity

    Fun comment section tonight. You’d think the Oilers were winning by a country mile. $21m spent to watch them skate in circles and clog up the neutral zone. Enjoy the false sense of security a 1-0 win gets you, because in this league you can only win those against tired teams. What, the Oilers have 18 of those teams this season? 2nd night of a B2B? Should be able to win about 50% of those. Boring hockey played by a AHL quality team. Good coach, back in the early 2000’s when that type of hockey won. Clutch and grab at it’s finest. Dressed a goon for the sake of a goon, but Kassian was the chicken sh*t he typically is. Looch hits high and late, yet no call.

    On to a real hockey team.
    Was not that impressed with the 1M line. Sammy and Ryan are fine 4th liners that can play some special teams, but PP is not their best look. Mangiapane is playing well, but his game is speed, not trap hockey. Need to fix the lines a bit until Backlund comes back, since they are no quite right. Top and 3rd lines probably had the best chances. 2nd Unit PP was bad, but then again Brodie was not good on PP1. Ras needs to shoot more, because he almost created a goal out of nothing.

    Moving on. Trolls get lost. Enjoy your one win for the rest of December. That is unless you play a bottom feeder.
    Even then, it’s not likely. Complete joke of a team.

  • cgyokgn

    They are allowed to lose but we feel bitter because it’s against the Oil and because all we needed was one goal and besides the one called back we couldn’t generate anything. On a positive note, Peters was happy with their play, they get to practice and play a game at home, Gio is back next game and we move on.