The last installment of the Battle of Alberta has taken on a new component: if the Edmonton Oilers win tonight, the Calgary Flames will have any hope of making the playoffs extinguished.
"They played us really strong last week, or two weeks ago. They outplayed us and if it wasn't for some big efforts late and some lucky bounces, our season might be over," Tom Kostopoulos
said. "We can't underestimate them at all. They're a good team. They're playing well. For them to beat Vancouver twice is pretty impressive. We've got to play our best game of season tonight."
The last time these two teams met was Mar. 26 when the Flames managed to come back from a 4-1 deficit in the third period. The Flames know they can't be so casual tonight against their divisional rival.
"They were playing with some confidence in that last game we played them up in Edmonton," blueliner Cory Sarich
said. "Didn't get off to the start we wanted so we're going to have to make sure that's a priority tonight."
Given the Flames have been playing in must-win games for basically the last month, it could be assumed the team may be starting to feel the pressure. However, Sarich said that wasn't the case.
"We're trying to keep it fairly even-keel. Right now in this crunch you'd be lying if you said a guy wasn't watching to see what's happening but we're just trying to control what we can and root against a few teams."Curtis Glencross
echoed that statement.
"It seems like it's been like that for even longer than that," he chuckled. "We're technically still in it so we're just going one game at a time and doing what we can do."
Tonight's game will highlight two important milestones. The Flames will recognize Jarome Iginla
's 1000 career points with a pregame ceremony for the captain.
"He's in great shape and that's why he's been so consistent over his career," Mark Giordano
said of Iginla's astoundingly steady ability to produce offensively year after year. "Not only is he a top player in the League, he really takes care of himself on and off the ice. I think that's where you see the 30 goals 10 years in a row."
The game also marks the first time Daymond Langkow has played on home ice since Mar. 19, 2009. The veteran pivot admitted he had some pre-game jitters but said having two games under his belt calmed his nerves.
"For someone who has been out for a year plus, he's played well," head coach Brent Sutter said after the Flames optional skate. "It took him about a period to get into the flow of it and get a feel for the game and the pace of it. But intelligent players don't take very long and Daymond's a very intelligent hockey player."
Flames lines from Tuesday's practice:
Tanguay - Backlund - Iginla
Kostopoulos - Langkow - Glencross
Bourque - Jokinen - Jackman
Nemisz - Stajan - Bouma
Regehr - Bouwmeester
Giordano - Carson
Babchuk - Sarich