Oilers host Flames in Battle of Alberta
Saturday, 12.03.2011 / 1:52 AMFLAMES (10-12-2) at OILERS (13-10-3)
Calgary 4-5-1; Edmonton 3-6-1
This is the second edition of the Battle of Alberta this season. The Flames won 2-1 in Calgary on Oct. 18 by scoring twice in the third period. The teams meet again next week at Scotiabank Saddledome.
The Oilers have spent the last few seasons looking up at their provincial rivals. Not so this season -- the Flames come to Rexall Place outside the top eight in the West, while the Oilers are a surprising seventh.
The Flames won back-to-back games and were less than six minutes away from a third straight win before falling 4-3 to the Columbus Blue Jackets in a shootout on Thursday night.
The lost point still bothered the Flames a day later.
"We're a team that's trying to build some momentum and we can't be giving away points," defenseman Chris Butler
told CalgaryFlames.com on Friday. "It's nice to get one, but those are games we have to nail down a win."
The floodgates opened in Edmonton on Friday night when the Oilers snapped a three-game losing streak with a five-goal third period to best the Jackets 6-3. Edmonton youngsters continue to prove potent as sophomore Ryan Jones
notched his first career hat trick in the victory.
"It feels amazing, it's really hard to explain," Jones said.
The win moved the Oilers into a tie for seventh place in the West. Play to win was the message the Tom Renney conveyed to his players between the second and third period, and his team did exactly that by lighting up the Jackets for five goals.
"It shows that they are willing to take the responsibility for this season," Renney said. "All the good and bad that goes with it, and battling through adversity goes with it. It gives you more resolve and it gives you more arrows in your quiver. You learn how to do things. You learn how to win hockey games and that's really, really important."
Edmonton's Ryan Nugent-Hopkins
, a repeat winner as rookie of the month, had an assist Friday to increase his rookie-leading point total to 28. He has four points in Edmonton's last three games.
The Flames are without defenseman Anton Babchuk
(hand) and forward David Moss
while the Oilers are missing forwards Taylor Hall
(shoulder) and Ben Eager
(back), as well as defenseman Corey Potter
The Oilers boast an NHL-best 27.8 percent on the power play at home, while the Flames are 22.9 percent with the man-advantage on the road.
You can bet that Miikka Kiprusoff
will be in goal for the Flames when they step onto the Rexall Center ice. Kiprusoff is 11-1-0 with a 2.29 goals-against average in his last 12 starts against the Oilers. He'll have to stop Nugent-Hopkins, who seems to save his best efforts for when the Oilers play the late game on CBC's "Hockey Night in Canada." Nugent-Hopkins already has a hat trick and a five-assist night on HNIC.