FGD 50: Another Battle of Alberta (8pm MT, CBC)

One day after a dramatic come-from-behind victory over Detroit, the Calgary Flames (31-13-5, 67 points) are back at it! They trek up Highway 2 for a divisional clash with the Edmonton Oilers (23-21-3, 49 points), a talented team that has underachieved for various reasons so far this season.

It’s the late game on Hockey Night in Canada at 8 p.m. MT and you can catch it on CBC, Sportsnet West, Sportsnet One, Sportsnet 360, City TV, and on Sportsnet 960 The Fan (as always).

For a view from the other side, check out OilersNation!

The Flames

Projected lines, via Daily Faceoff:

Gaudreau – Monahan – Lindholm
Tkachuk – Backlund – Frolik
Bennett – Jankowski –  Neal
Mangiapane – Ryan – Hathaway

Giordano – Brodie
Hanifin – Hamonic
Kylington – Andersson

As Mike Smith started (and won) last night, David Rittich suits up for the Flames this evening. That’s the only change, so the scratches from last night (Dalton Prout and Austin Czarnik) are the scratches tonight.

The two Battles of Alberta thus far are convenient signposts in the season so far, so let’s see how things break down for the Flames:

  • 10-8-1 record to begin season
  • Beat Edmonton on Nov. 17
  • 8-1-1 between Battles of Alberta
  • Lost to Edmonton on Dec. 9
  • 12-2-3 since Dec. 9

The Nov. 17 comeback win was arguably the most Flames-y game of the season: they were out-played for big stretches, but they kept battling and in the third period they seemingly flipped the switch, found another gear and won the game. Since then, they’ve continually found that extra gear when they’ve needed it.

More complete games or in-game consistency would be nice, but they’re continually finding ways to win games and bank points. Another 21 points probably makes a playoff spot a sure thing.

The Oilers

Projected lines, via Daily Faceoff:

Draisaitl – McDavid – Chiasson
Khaira – Nugent-Hopkins – Yamamoto
Lucic – Cave – Kassian
Rieder – Brodziak – Puljujarvi

Nurse – Russell
Jones – Larsson
Manning – Benning

Coming off a shootout win against Vancouver, Mikko Koskinen starts for the Oilers. He’s backed up by Cam Talbot. The projected scratches are Kevin Gravel, Ty Rattie and Ryan Spooner.

Let’s do the same exercise for the Oilers as we did for the Flames:

  • 9-8-1 record to open the season
  • Lost to Calgary on Nov. 17
  • 6-3-2 between Battles of Alberta
  • Beat Calgary on Dec. 9
  • 6-9-1 since Dec. 9

The Flames grabbed momentum from their big win over their rival, but the Oilers just haven’t been able to generate any from theirs. They come into tonight one point behind Vancouver for the final Western Conference playoff spot.

The Numbers

Wins 31 23
Points 67 49
Corsi Close 53.0% 47.7%
Power Play 23.9% 21.6%
Penalty Kill 78.6% 77.6%

Injury Report

The Flames are without Juuso Valimaki and Michael Stone.

The Oilers are without Ondrej Sekera, Alex Petrovic and Oscar Klefbom.

Season Series

This is the second of four meetings between these teams. The home side has won every game thus far.

Know Thy Enemy

Your Oilers Twitter follows for tonight:

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  • Spider you muda&@#ker

    Back to back wins this team is solid what a game kudos to oilers they made a game out of it and kept the play clean but in the end the flames depth was just to much for them

  • Mickey O'Reaves

    Starfish Russell a number 7 on good teams…1st pairing D on the Oilers.
    Some dude plucked off waivers, hey you’ll do as our 3C.
    Fun times in Edmonton.

    • The Real SlimBrodie

      Where is the train? Oiler draft to follow? Maybe you can trade your first overall pick before you ruin him? Did anyone else see McDavid mouth the words trade me please?

    • Mitchell

      My thoughts exactly. I think I counted three plays by him where he should have just stayed in the net. He puts himself in horrible positions which could cost them. In addition he seems to always play the puck up the left side boards, and I think players are starting to key in on that.

  • cgyokgn

    Even though the Flames have won a lot of games and scored a lot of goals, each game is a fight and most of the time I’m holding my breath until the final minutes. Perhaps the Lightning are the only team who win easy, I don’t know. The Backlund goal was the turning point I think and put this game away for us. Really proud of how they persevered, winning back to back. Love this team.

  • Harley Hotchkiss’s Ghost

    Noah Hanifin played a really great game defensively and made a couple of perfect stretch passes that created prime chances. He shutdown McDavid big time in a couple of key situations.

    James Neal also played well again, he could easily have had a couple of assists. He’s starting to play better.

  • freethe flames

    That was fun to watch; lot’s of good things. Interesting game watching Neal with Backs and Frolik and Bennett/Janko/Tkachuk. Johnny with 2 points and McD with how many?

  • Getpucksdeep

    Goal and an assist for Guadreau…zip for MacDavid. They held him off the score sheet. I noticed Peters did NOT shorten the bench at all. Everyone played in the third.

  • Prairiechicken

    I loathe losing to the flames, and rarely go on ON or here during BOA games because of the trolling both ways. But the chirping back and forth between fans at the game (I was there) was good natured ribbing and fun (as it was in the dome for the first match this year). Well done. I wish these games were a battle for first but am praying for the miracle of a first round matchup.

  • Jourflamesfan

    I’m calling out @Jourflamesfan
    He said he felt like the flames were going to lose tonight.
    Oh wait! That’s me ?
    Seriously though, I am glad to be wrong.
    Reading the pregame banter on here & CP alot of posters not feeling overly confident of this one.
    Huge Huge win tonight. Feels so good! ???????????