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Calgary Flames Game Day 9: The 260th Battle of Alberta takes things outdoors (5pm MT)

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Photo credit:Walter Tychnowicz-USA TODAY Sports
Ryan Pike
29 days ago
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Friends, it’s time to take this battle outside.
In the 260th regular season meeting between the Calgary Flames (2-5-1, 5 points) and the Edmonton Oilers (1-5-1, 3 points), they’ll be playing in the open air of Commonwealth Stadium in the 2023 Heritage Classic. It’s a meeting between two bitter rivals, not to mention two teams that are riding a combined eight-game losing skid. Both teams desperately need a win to right their respective ships. Only one will obtain one.
The broadcast begins at 5 p.m. MT on Sportsnet’s national feed and Sportsnet 960 The Fan.
For a view from the other side, head on over to OilersNation!

The Flames

Projected lines courtesy Daily Faceoff:
Hunt – Lindholm – Dube
Coleman – Backlund – Mangiapane
Huberdeau – Kadri – Coronato
Greer – Sharangovich – Duehr
Hanifin – Weegar
Solovyov – Tanev
Zadorov – Gilbert
Jacob Markstrom is the projected starter for the Flames, backed up by Dan Vladar. The expected extras are Adam Ruzicka and Jordan Oesterle. Head coach Ryan Huska described Ruzicka as “still day-to-day” but didn’t completely rule him out, but he didn’t participate in line rushes on Saturday evening.
Man, the Flames are riding a tough stretch of hockey lately. While the shape of their game has been pretty solid this season – they win face-offs and have the puck a bunch – the details of their game have been utterly lacking through bad mistakes at bad times. Against St. Louis on Thursday evening, the Flames were pretty listless in addition to their iffy details.
There are 74 games left on the docket. The ship can be righted, and the playoffs are still a realistic proposition. But the longer the team dawdles around and experiences issues finding some consistency in their game, the less probable a post-season appearance becomes. The clock, as they say, is ticking.

The Oilers

Projected lines courtesy Daily Faceoff:
Draisaitl – McDavid – Foegele
Kane – Nugent-Hopkins – Hyman
Holloway – McLeod – Brown
Erne – Janmark – Ryan
Nurse – Ceci
Ekholm – Broberg
Kulak – Bouchard
Stuart Skinner is expected to start, backed up by Jack Campbell. The projected extra is Vincent Desharnais. Connor McDavid is expected to make his return to the Edmonton lineup after missing a couple games with an upper-body injury. Oilers head coach Jay Woodcroft wouldn’t say definitively if McDavid was back, but McDavid was a full participant in practice and it would be surprising if he didn’t play at this point.
The Oilers, because of how they’ve allocated their salary cap space to a few really important players, were always destined to be top-heavy. The hope was that those big guns that they’ve locked into big contracts would carry the team. Early this season, that hasn’t been the case. But the Oilers are like a sleeping giant: with the talent they have at their disposal, underestimate them at your peril.
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Unavailable players

The Flames are without Oliver Kylington, Jakob Pelletier, Kevin Rooney, Adam Ruzicka and Rasmus Andersson.
The Oilers are healthy.

The numbers

FlamesOilers
2Wins1
5 (.313)Points (%)3 (.214)
54.9%
(6th)
xGF%54.6%
(7th)
11.5%
(27th)
PP%25.9%
(8th)
90.3%
(5th)
PK%74.1%
(23rd)

Head to head

This is the first of four meetings between these clubs this season. They’ll meet again in Edmonton in January, and then in Calgary in February and April.

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