Calgary Flames Game Day 76: The 263rd Battle of Alberta (8pm MT)

Photo credit:© Candice Ward-USA TODAY Sports
Ryan Pike
1 month ago
It’s a tale of two teams with differing fates clashing on a Saturday night. It’s the final Battle of Alberta of the season as the Calgary Flames (34-36-5, 73 points) host the Edmonton Oilers (46-24-5, 97 points). The Flames are eliminated from playoff contention and the Oilers just punched their ticket on Friday night. Can the Flames get a small measure of revenge with a win over their most bitter rivals?
Be sure to check out the latest NHL playoff odds with online sportsbook Betway.
The broadcast begins at 8 p.m. MT on CBC, Sportsnet West (and East and Ontario) and Sportsnet 960 The Fan. The Flames opened as +130 underdogs against the Oilers on Betway.
For a look from the other side, head over to Oilersnation!

The Flames

Projected lines via Daily Faceoff:
Coleman – Backlund – Coronato
Kuzmenko – Kadri – Pospisil
Huberdeau – Sharangovich – Zary
Greer – Rooney – Hunt
Kylington – Andersson
Weegar – Miromanov
Gilbert – Pachal
We’re projecting Jacob Markstrom to start in net, backed up by Dustin Wolf. Our pal Pat Steinberg of Sportsnet noted that Mikael Backlund was absent from morning skate and, as a result, line combinations were chaos. We’re reasonably confident there’s no Joel Hanley (injured) and no Nikita Okhotiuk (scratched) and that Dennis Gilbert dresses for the first time since Mar. 7. Beyond that? We’ll see what warm-up shows us.
The Flames are 3-10-0 since the trade deadline and were mathematically eliminated from playoff contention via their loss to Winnipeg on Thursday night. While the Flames have been playing alright over this span, they’ve struggled to play with structure consistently and that’s led to lapses and losses. But one guy that’s been the model of consistency is MacKenzie Weegar, who has 12 points over those 13 games.
The Flames are working the rough spots out of their game, and the hope over the final seven games is to build and reinforce good habits. And if they win just a single game over the final seven, they probably have the Battle of Alberta circled on the team calendar.

The Oilers

Projected lines courtesy Daily Faceoff:
Draisaitl – McDavid – Hyman
Henrique – Nugent-Hopkins – Foegele
Kane – McLeod – Perry
Janmark – Ryan – Brown
Ekholm – Bouchard
Nurse – Ceci
Kulak – Desharnais
We’re projecting Calvin Pickard to start in net, with Stuart Skinner backing up (after starting against Colorado on Friday night). The extras on Friday were Sam Carrick and Troy Stecher.
This is the second half of a back-to-back, as the Oilers beat Colorado by a 6-2 score on Friday to officially clinch a post-season berth. They’re five points back of Vancouver for top spot in the Pacific Division with a game in hand. They’ll need to go on a heater and get some help to take the Pacific from the Canucks.
The Oilers are 8-3-3 since the trade deadline. They have four players – Connor McDavid, Leon Draisaitl, Evan Bouchard and Mattias Ekholm – producing at more than a point-per-game pace since the deadline. At a time where the Oilers were hoping to make a push, they’ve gotten strong performances from their key guys. And even on the back half of a back-to-back, that’ll make them a handful.
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Unavailable players

The Flames are without Dillon Dube, Dan Vladar, Joel Hanley and Andrew Mangiapane.
The Oilers are healthy.

The numbers

73 (.487)Points (%)97 (.647)

Head to head

This is round four of the 2023-24 edition of the Battle of Alberta. Edmonton’s won two out of the first three meetings so far.

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