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PREVIEW - FLAMES VS. OILERS

Flames look to sweep all-rookie set tonight at the Scotiabank Saddledome

by RYAN DITTRICK @ryandittrick / CalgaryFlames.com

You can watch tonight's game LIVE right right here on CalgaryFlames.com, Twitter, Facebook or at the YouTube link below.

Ding, ding! 

Round 2. 

The Flames and Edmonton Oilers prospects renew acquaintances tonight, with the scene shifting to Calgary where the locals will look to sweep their northern counterparts with a seven o'clock date at the Scotiabank Saddledome.

On Saturday, the Red Rookies took a 1-0 decision at the Westerner Park Centrium in Red Deer, with Calgary native Matthew Phillips converting the OT winner off a beautiful pass from Dillon Dube at 1:04 of the extra period. 

"There was some chemistry there," Stockton head coach Cail MacLean said of his top line - Phillips, Dube and Glenn Gawdin - who played together, at times, with the AHL Heat last year. "These are guys that have been through a lot of pro games to this point. So, when you combine that with the speed of Dillon Dube, the thought process of Matt Phillips and Glenn Gawdin, all of a sudden it's a pretty formidable line. 

"Excited to see them do well, and we hoped that they would do well, but I thought they lived up to their billing."

Goaltender Artyom Zagidulin played all 60-plus minutes, recording 31 saves for the shutout. At the other end, Oilers goalies Dylan Wells and Stuart Skinner shared the workload, with Wells turning aside all 18 shots he faced, while Skinner was victimized on the eighth puck fired his way. 

While offence came at a premium, there was no shortage of bad blood, with the rookies on both sides ratcheting up the intensity in a feisty, physical edition of the Battle of 
Alberta. 

"These are two groups of players that are trying to make teams and make good impressions," MacLean said. "The bottom line is that we want guys to be really competitive and I think that we saw some of that on both sides."

With the win, the Flames improved to 3-0 against the Oilers in this now-annual doubleheader, with 7-3 and 6-3 victories highlighting last year's event. 

Puck drop is set for 7 p.m. MT and all the action will be streamed LIVE on YouTube, Twitter, Facebook, and right here on CalgaryFlames.com
 

HERE ARE THREE THINGS TO WATCH:
 

POPPIN' BODIES

Martin Pospisil is no stranger to the rough stuff. 

The 6-foot-2, 192-lb. power forward combined for a staggering 371 penalty minutes in 93 games over the past two seasons with the USHL's Sioux City Musketeers.

While the fiery Slovak took it down a notch last year, dropping the PIM total by a smidge more than half, the fact remains…

"If someone wants to go, I'll never say no," the forward says, grinning.

 

 

Pospisil made short work of Oilers defenceman Vincent Desharnais, stunning the 6-foot-6, 210-lb. foe with a blunt series of uppercuts. This, after dishing out a punishing hit that bent 2015 sixth-round pick Cooper Marody over the boards and nearly into the benches, causing not one, but two melees at the stoppage.  

"It was a good fight," he said. "Short and sweet. 

"Obviously, I like to play physical. That's my style. That's my game.

"If there's ever an opportunity to make a hit and give my team some energy, I'm going to take it. 

"I love that stuff."

It's because of this that Pospisil is such a fascinating read. Entering his first year of pro, with either with the AHL's Stockton Heat or the ECHL's Kansas City Mavericks, he also has a great shot and plenty of untapped potential as a playmaker.

In 44 games last year, the pivot tallied 16 goals and 63 points, and is looking to develop more of a shooter's mentality as he begins the pro journey in just a few weeks. 
 

WOW FACTOR

Dmitry Zavgorodniy left the Red Deer rodeo grounds with a burr in his saddle. 

He isn't used to quiet nights on the scoresheet. 

"All I've been thinking since that night and the bus ride home is (tonight's) game," Zavgorodniy said. "Saturday, it wasn't my best game, the puck was bouncing - felt like everything was going against me."

Zavgorodniy played the right flank with Pospisil and centre Luke Philp. 

He was hoping to repeat the outcome of last year's visit, where he scored twice to lead the Flames offensively. 

Not so. 

But all any player can ask for is a chance at redemption.

"Four, five days into camp now, and I'm feeling really good," he said. "Ready to show my best."

 

 

Zavgorodniy signed a three-year entry level contract with the Flames back in March, but is likely to return to Rimouski of the QMJHL for a third season of junior. 

Last year, he tallied 64 points (28G, 26A) in 67 games, before adding another eight points (4G, 4A) in 12 playoff contests. 

"I made a point of working on my explosiveness over the summer," Zavgorodniy said. "I didn't really get a chance to show that off on Saturday, but (tonight), I will."
 

HAMMY'S TURN

While Saturday was something of a homecoming for Red Deer native Andrew Nielson, the Calgary products will get their turn in front of the locals - in the big rink, no less.

Matthew Phillips and Dillon Dube are no stranger to the Saddledome spotlight, but for 25-year-old Rob Hamilton?

This is special. 

Never-been-done. 

Once-in-a-life-time-kind of special.  

 

 

"You walk into the room and see that Flaming C on the chest and a little shiver runs down your spine," Hamilton said. "Even if it's a rookie game, to see your name on the back of the sweater is a cool experience."

The defenceman signed an AHL contract with the Flames' affiliate in Stockton last winter, and will return again this fall after signing an extension in May. 

In 54 games last year, Hamilton had seven goals and 29 points, along with 27 penalty minutes. 

"For me, staying consistent, taking my game from showing up and being the new guy to wanting to be a leader [is my goal]," he said.  

"I want to be the leader, like more of a contributing part of the team as far as making decisions and being a positive influence for the younger guys."

Video: "A little shiver runs down your spine."

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