FGD 49: The 251st Battle of Alberta (7pm MT, SN West)

Photo credit:Sergei Belski/USA Today Sports
Ryan Pike
1 year ago
It’s a pretty important clash in Alberta’s capital city on Thursday night! The Calgary Flames (21-24-3, 45 points) are fighting for their playoff lives and trying to reel in the Montreal Canadiens for the fourth and final North Division playoff berth! The Edmonton Oilers (29-16-2, 60 points) are trying to lock down home ice advantage for what looks to be a first round playoff series with the Winnipeg Jets. And both teams are looking for sweet, sweet bragging rights in the ongoing Battle of Alberta.
The action starts at 7 p.m. MT on Sportsnet West (and the national feed) and Sportsnet 960 The Fan!
For a view from the other side, check out OilersNation!

The Flames

Projected lines, via Daily Faceoff:
Gaudreau – Lindholm – Tkachuk
Mangiapane – Monahan – Ritchie
Lucic – Backlund – Dube
Nordstrom – Ryan – Robinson
Giordano – Tanev
Valimaki – Stone
Nesterov – Andersson
Jacob Markstrom is tonight’s starter, backed up by Louis Domingue. The projected extra is Oliver Kylington. The taxi squad is Artyom Zagidulin, Connor Mackey, Dominik Simon, Byron Froese, Glenn Gawdin and Zac Rinaldo.
The Flames were good, but not quite good enough over the full 60 minutes to beat Montreal back on Monday night. After two days off, they’re trying to get back into the win column and keep their playoff dreams alive.
“Very real,” said alternate captain Matthew Tkachuk after morning skate, describing the Flames’ playoff hopes. “Very, very real. We have some work to do and we need some help, but we have a chance and that’s all you can ask for.”
The Flames have a chance, but they need to play really well and get some help from most of the teams that play Montreal down the stretch. They enter tonight’s action six points behind the Habs.

The Oilers

Projected lines, via Daily Faceoff:
Kahun – McDavid – Puljujarvi
Nugent-Hopkins – Draisaitl – Yamamoto
Shore – McLeod – Archibald
Neal – Haas – Chiasson
Nurse – Barrie
Kulikov – Larsson
K.Russell – Bear
Via Sportsnet’s Jack Michaels: Kris Russell in for Caleb Jones, and Mike Smith starts.
Mike Smith starts for Edmonton, backed up by Mikko Koskinen (after Koskinen won last night). The active extras are Alex Stalock, Joakim Nygard, William Lagesson and Caleb Jones. Their taxi squad is Evan Bouchard, Tyler Ennis, Kyle Turris and Patrick Russell.
The Oilers are, well, good. Their attack is largely hinged upon NHL leading scorer Connor McDavid, reigning Hart Trophy winner Leon Draisaitl, and some guy named Ryan Nugent-Hopkins who is quite good at 200-foot hockey. The Oilers aren’t a team without holes, but they’ve managed to ride some strong performances from their top players to a spot near the top of the North Division.

The numbers

Points (%)45 (.469)60 (.638)
Adjusted Corsi For52.0%48.9%
Expected Goals52.7%49.5%
Power Play20.0%26.9%
Penalty Kill80.4%79.4%

Playoff hopes and dreams

The Flames’ tragic number is 5.5. Any combination of 5.5 Calgary losses and Montreal wins eliminates the Flames from playoff contention. Their magic number is 11.5. Any combination of 11.5 Flames wins and Montreal losses clinch the Flames a playoff spot. (Overtime/shootout losses for either team subtracts 0.5 from either number.)

Unfit to play report

The Flames are without Josh Leivo and Noah Hanfin.
The Oilers are without Oscar Klefbom, Slater Koekkoek, Jujhar Khaira and Zach Kassian.

When last we met

This is the ninth of 10 Battles of Alberta in 2020-21. The Flames have won three out of eight. They won 6-4, 4-3 and 5-0, but lost 2-1, 7-1, 3-2, 7-3 and 3-2.

Know thy enemy

Your recommended Twitter follows for tonight’s contest:

Check out these posts...