Game Preview: Flames vs Edmonton Oilers

CALGARY FLAMES (13-16-4 30 points) vs. EDMONTON OILERS (14-13-7 35 points) GAME 34

 

PREVIEW:

The Battle of Alberta is re-ignited tonight with the Flames heading up north to meet their provincial rivals, the Edmonton Oilers. They are connected by the same highway but that is about the only thing these two have in common with each team heading in opposite directions in the standings. The Oilers currently sit in a tie for 10th, two points out of the playoffs, while the Flames sit 14th, just two points ahead of the 30th place Florida Panthers.

This is the first game of a home-and-home between the Flames and Oilers as the two teams will meet again on Wednesday at the Saddledome.

Things could not be any more uncertain as they are now in Calgary with the trade deadline a little over 48 hours away.

The Flames finally traded Jarome Iginla last week so to say anyone with the name other than Sven Baertschi is safe heading into Wednesday would be unfair, with the Flames looking to “re-tool” their franchise.

The Oilers, after starting the season very poorly, have started to figure things out and are just two points out of eighth place.

As bad as the Vancouver Canucks were on Saturday night, in the Oilers 4-0 victory, the Oilers youth is finally starting to mature, something many thought would have started from game one of the season.

Taylor Hall had a hat-trick in the first 7:38 of Saturday’s game, setting a franchise record for the fastest hat-trick to start a game, beating Wayne Gretzky’s old mark of 12:38. Hall now leads the Oilers in points with 11 goals and 34 points.

Hall along with line mates Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Jordan Eberle seem to be finding the chemistry that made them so successful during the lock-out in Oklahoma City and it could not come at a better time.

Usually at this time of year the Oilers are playing spoilers to the Flames playoff hopes.

This season there has been a complete role reversal.

The Flames have won 10 of the last 12 meetings against the Oilers; can they stop their road woes and continue that success tonight?

Miikka Kiprusoff will get the start for the Flames, while the Oilers will counter with Devan Dubnyk.

 

PROJECTED LINES:

Flames:                                                                        Oilers:

1- TANGUAY-CAMMALLERI-COMEAU                       1- HALL-NUGENT-HOPKINS-EBERLE

2- HUDLER-BACKLUND-CERVENKA                         2- PAAJARVI-GAGNER-HEMSKY

3- GLENCROSS-STAJAN-STEMPNIAK                       3- YAKUPOV-HORCOFF-JONES

4- JACKMAN-BEGIN-McGRATTAN                              4- SMYTH-LANDER-BROWN

 

1- BOUWMEESTER-BRODIE                                       1- J. SCHULTZ-N. SCHULTZ

2- WIDEMAN-GIORDANO                                            2- SMID-PETRY

3- SARICH-BUTLER                                                     3- WHITNEY-POTTER

 

1- KIPRUSOFF                                                             1- DUBNYK

2- MacDONALD                                                            2- KHABIBULIN

 

EXTRA- SMITH, BABCHUK                                       EXTRA- PETRELL, FISTRIC, PECKHAM

 

INJURIES:

Flames: C- Paul Byron (Broken Hand- IR)

Oilers: C- Eric Belanger (Groin- IR), D- Andy Sutton (Knee Surgery- IR)

 

STATS:

Flames

PLAYER

GP

G

A

PTS

+/-

M. Cammalleri

30

11

14

25

-12

A. Tanguay

33

9

16

25

-12

L. Stempniak

33

7

16

23

3

C. Glencross

31

14

8

22

-8

J. Hudler

30

7

15

22

-7

 

Avalanche

PLAYER

GP

G

A

PTS

+/-

T. Hall

31

11

23

34

2

S. Gagner

34

13

18

31

-3

J. Eberle

34

10

15

25

-4

A. Hemsky

33

9

10

19

-5

R. Nugent-Hopkins

31

2

16

18

-1

 

PP-

Flames: 21.6% (7th)

Oilers: 22.4% (5th)

PK-

Flames: 80.2% (20th)

Oilers: 84.2% (7th)

 

 

WESTERN CONFERENCE STANDINGS:

 

GP

W

L

OTL

PTS

1. CHICAGO

34

26

5

3

55

2. ANAHEIM

35

23

7

5

51

3. MINNESOTA

34

21

11

2

44

4. VANCOUVER

35

19

10

6

44

5. LOS ANGELES

35

20

12

3

43

6. SAN JOSE

34

17

11

6

40

7. DETROIT

35

17

13

5

39

8. COLUMBUS

36

15

14

7

37

 

9. ST. LOUIS

33

17

14

2

36

10. DALLAS

34

16

15

3

35

11. EDMONTON

34

14

13

7

35

12. NASHVILLE

35

14

14

7

35

13. PHOENIX

35

14

15

6

34

14. CALGARY

33

13

16

4

30

15. COLORADO

34

12

18

4

28

 

MY TAKE:

As hard and weird as it was to see Iginla in a Penguins uniform, I cannot be happier for him and I am a huge Pittsburgh Penguins fan heading down the stretch and into the playoffs.

Saying that, many have to wonder what other Flames could also joining Jarome in saying good-bye to the city of Calgary and hello to greener pastures.

Names floating around include Kiprusoff, Jay Bouwmeester, Curtis Glencross and Lee Stempniak.

None of those names surprise me but I have a hard time seeing Kiprusoff moving and the Flames better get something great if they are going to trade either Bouwmeester or Glencross.

To me, Glencross is a candidate for the Flames vacant captaincy next season. He is one of the most consistent Flames and always seems to show up for the big games.

When it comes to Bouwmeester, I have liked him playing alongside T.J. Brodie and I think keeping those two together down the road could really help the development of Brodie into a legitimate top four defensemen.

It is tough to predict what is going to happen before Wednesday at 1pm.

There are guys on the Flames that I think have good trade value and will be traded, but I do not want to make any predictions.

I do not have must trust in the Flames management these days, so to say I am a little skeptical heading into Wednesday would be an understatement.

 

 

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