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Preview: Flames vs. Oilers

by Staff Writer / Calgary Flames

The Edmonton Oilers and Calgary Flames enter the latest edition of the "Battle of Alberta" in different frames of mind.

Coming off very different finishes to their respective most recent games, these provincial rivals meet Saturday night at Rexall Place.

Edmonton (13-10-3) ended a three-game slide by rallying for five goals in the third period of Friday's 6-3 home win over Columbus. Ryan Jones notched his first career hat trick to lead the Oilers.

"Battling through adversity is important," coach Tom Renney said. "It just develops more resiliency and resolve and gives you more arrows in your quiver. You learn how to do things, you just learn how to win hockey games."

Calgary (10-12-2) hosted those same Blue Jackets on Thursday with the opposite result. The Flames blew a two-goal lead in the third period, allowing the tying goal with 58 seconds left before falling 4-3 in a shootout.

"We're a team that's trying to build some momentum and we can't be giving away points," defenseman Chris Butler said. "It's nice to get one, but those are games we have to nail down a win."

The third period proved decisive in the first meeting of the season between these teams. Jay Bouwmeester and Alex Tanguay scored late goals in a 2-1 win for the Flames on Oct. 18 at the Saddledome.

This matchup, though, will be in Edmonton, where the Oilers are 8-3-2 and are an NHL-best 27.8 percent on the power play. Jordan Eberle scored with the man advantage Friday.

The Flames are converting at a 22.9 percent clip on the power play on the road - the NHL's fourth-highest mark. That's in stark contrast to their league-worst 4.4 power-play percentage at home.

"We're a team that's close to dead last in overall power play, we are dead last - I didn't even know the numbers could go that low - in terms of our percentage at home," general manager Jay Feaster said. "We need to improve."

While that may be the case, Feaster also gave embattled coach Brent Sutter a vote of confidence Friday. The Flames have picked up five points over their last three games.

"This coaching staff has done a good job," Feaster said. "They work hard. They have done a good job of teaching. We all know the results are not where they need to be."

Miikka Kiprusoff is 11-1-0 with a 2.29 goals-against average in his last 12 starts against the Oilers. Backup Henrik Karlsson has never faced them.

Devan Dubnyk made 36 saves Friday for Edmonton. He's 0-2-1 with a 3.91 GAA against Calgary, while probable starter Nikolai Khabibulin has fared only slightly better, going 1-5-2 with a 3.45 GAA in his last eight appearances versus the Flames.

Edmonton rookie sensation Ryan Nugent-Hopkins' 20 points at home match Toronto's Phil Kessel for the NHL lead. Nugent-Hopkins and Eberle both have active three-game point streaks.

Calgary winger Jarome Iginla had gone six straight games in his hometown without a point before he had two goals and an assist in a 5-4 shootout win March 26, the Flames' last visit to Rexall Place.

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