The Flames will kick off the 2017-18 season in Edmonton on Wednesday, taking on their northern rivals at 8:00 p.m. MT (Sportsnet, Sportsnet 960 The FAN).
With both clubs making big strides over the past few seasons and earning playoff berths last spring, the Battle Of Alberta has taken on a greater significance in each team's quest to reign supreme in the Pacific Division.
The biggest test for the Flames will be containing the Oilers captain, Connor McDavid. The 20-year-old led the NHL with 100 points last season and is a threat every time he steps on the ice.
"That's going to be a challenge for everyone in the league," head coach Glen Gulutzan said on Tuesday. "He's a good player so we have to make sure we're ready to play against an elite player and we have to play a certain way for 60 minutes in order to have success.
"I think it's about staying in structure and playing defensive, especially against some offensive weapons over there," he added. "Our offence doesn't change much from who we're playing - maybe some subtleties - but our defensive awareness (in Edmonton), in certain areas, has to be there."
Mike Smith, acquired in the summer from the Arizona Coyotes, will get the start in Edmonton. The veteran netminder is coming off a 39-save performance in the Flames' 3-2 pre-season shootout win over the Winnipeg Jets on Saturday night.
"As it got later in the camp, I felt more comfortable and obviously the last game, it was nice to get a good win to feel confident going into the first game," Smith said earlier this week. "It was slow progress from Day 1 on but I feel like that's the way you want it to … you want to start like that and feel ready to go."
NOTES: On Tuesday, the Flames signed winger Tanner Glass to a one-year contract with an AAV of $650,000 … center Mark Jankowski was assigned to the Stockton Heat on Tuesday … center Marek Hrivik will start the season on the injured reserve … the Flames' home opener takes place on Saturday Oct. 7 at 8:00 p.m. MT. Limited tickets are available HERE.