Calgary Flames Game Day 58: The 262nd Battle of Alberta (8pm MT)

Photo credit:Walter Tychnowicz-USA TODAY Sports
Ryan Pike
4 months ago
Brought to you by odds site Betway
After losing three straight to drop down to .500, the Calgary Flames (27-25-5, 59 points) have won two in a row and are focused on clawing themselves to a wild card berth. They face a tough test in the form of the Edmonton Oilers (33-19-2, 68 points), their most bitter rival and one of the Western Conference’s top teams. Can the Flames take advantage of the Oilers being on a back-to-back and extend their winning streak?
The broadcast begins at 8 p.m. MT on CBC, City TV, Sportsnet’s national feed and Sportsnet 960 The Fan. The Flames opened as +160 underdogs against the Oilers on Betway.
For a look from the other side, head over to OilersNation!

The Flames

Projected lines courtesy Daily Faceoff:
Huberdeau – Sharangovich – Pelletier
Zary – Kadri – Pospisil
Mangiapane – Backlund – Coleman
Hunt – Rooney – Duehr
Hanifin – Tanev
Weegar – Andersson
Kylington – Pachal
We’re projecting Dan Vladar to start in net, backed up by Jacob Markstrom. The projected extras are Jordan Oesterle and Dennis Gilbert. Based on morning skate, Jakob Pelletier returns from his injury-related absence. Andrei Kuzmenko looks to be the odd man out, as he didn’t skate this morning and head coach Ryan Huska indicated he’s out with an illness.
Since the All-Star break, the Flames are 5-3-0. Most of the season, though, they’ve wobbled between winning and losing streaks, a trait that’s kept them hovering around the .500 mark and prevented them from making up much ground in the Western Conference post-season race. Simply put, this is an important hockey game for the Flames. The Flames have found ways to win lately and played really well against some really good teams. That trend will need to continue at Rogers Place.
On one hand, Andrei Kuzmenko has four points in eight games with the Flames. That’s pretty good! On the other hand, he’s had his ice time cut back in each of the past two games, including being parked on the bench for the majority of Thursday’s game. (Maybe that was related to his illness, who knows?) With Kuzmenko absent this evening, it’ll be interesting to see how Pelletier looks in an offensive-minded usage.

The Oilers

Projected lines courtesy Daily Faceoff:
Foegele – McDavid – Hyman
Nugent-Hopkins – Draisaitl – Kane
Janmark – McLeod – Brown
Holloway – Ryan – Perry
Ekholm – Bouchard
Nurse – Ceci
Kulak – Desharnais
We’re projecting Stuart Skinner to start in goal, backed up by Calvin Pickard. Sam Gagner was their extra against Minnesota, but we’ll see if he rotates in. (It’s a back-to-back for the Oilers, so there’s no full morning skate.)
The Oilers hosted the Minnesota Wild on Friday evening, and despite throwing a lot of shots on net, they lost by a 4-2 score. They were out-scored 3-0 at even strength, with both of their goals coming on the power play. Since the Oilers’ 16 game winning streak, they’ve gone 4-4-1. They’re by no means a “bad” hockey club, but the team still has depth issues and asks a lot of their big three players, Connor McDavid, Leon Draisaitl and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins.
If the Oilers want to get where they want to go, they need more from everybody else.
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Unavailable players

The Flames are without Dillon Dube and A.J. Greer.
The Oilers are healthy.

The numbers

59 (.518)Points (%)68 (.629)

Head to head

This is the third of four Battles of Alberta scheduled for this regular season. Edmonton’s won both of their meetings thus far. The season series concludes in March back in Calgary.

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