OILERS (7-21-7) at FLAMES (18-15-3)
TV: CBC (8:00 PM MT)
Season series: This is the second of five meetings between the Edmonton Oilers and Calgary Flames in the Battle of Alberta this season. Powered by a hat trick from forward Mason Raymond and a 38-save performance from goaltender Karri Ramo, the Flames beat Edmonton 5-2 at Rexall Place on Oct. 9.
Oilers team scope: The Oilers return from the Christmas break to an eight-game winless streak. Interim coach Todd Nelson is still seeking his first win, going 0-2-2 since inheriting the role from Dallas Eakins on Dec. 15. “It’s disappointing and I understand the fans are frustrated,” Nelson said. “All I can say is that it’s a really good time for a break to get away from the game for a while.” Nelson’s most recent outing behind Edmonton’s bench saw the Oilers fall 5-1 to the Arizona Coyotes on home ice. “We obviously took a step back [Tuesday]. It wasn’t the game that we wanted,” Nelson said. “I thought that our execution was really poor.” The loss leaves Edmonton reeling with just one win in its past 20 games. “You have to just be part of a machine to be a good team in this league,” Oilers captain Andrew Ference said. “Right now, there’s just a piece missing here, a piece missing there and it throws the whole thing off. We're just nowhere near where we have to be to compete in this league.”
Flames team scope: Calgary might not have wanted to break for four days around the holidays. The Flames snapped an eight-game winless streak on Dec. 22 in dramatic fashion, overcoming a three-goal deficit to beat the defending Stanley Cup Champion Los Angeles Kings 4-3 in overtime. The win featured rookie Johnny Gaudreau’s first career hat trick, which included two goals late in the third period with Calgary’s net empty before Mark Giordano scored the game-winner with 53 seconds remaining in overtime. “Johnny Hockey turned the show on. A couple of great goals by him,” Giordano said. “For all the bad things, luck-wise, that have happened to us lately, I think we deserved a break and we got one.” With the win and Calgary’s losing streak snapped, coach Bob Hartley said he only wants his players looking forward. “We’re going to learn from what happened,” Hartley said. “We didn’t want it but it’s there and now it’s behind us. There’s no sense dwelling on the losses. There’s nothing good from this. We learned about it and now we move on.”