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SAY WHAT: 'IT FEELS LIKE THE PLAYOFFS'

A rundown of the key storylines ahead of Round 4 of the Battle of Alberta

by RYAN DITTRICK @ryandittrick / CalgaryFlames.com

 

MILAN LUCIC ON FLAMES-OILERS RIVALRY:

"It's been organic this year the way the rivalry has happened. It seems every time we've played this year, we've either been tied in points or one point has separated the two of us. That's what's made these games so intense."

 

LUCIC ON WHAT HE EXPECTS FROM THE OILERS TONIGHT:

"We know, putting ourselves in their shoes, they're not going to be happy about losing all four games, so they're going to do whatever they can to give themselves the best chance to win. We've got to expect their best."

 

Video: "It should make for another great game tonight"

 

MARK GIORDANO ON PLAYOFF ATMOSPHERE:

"It feels like the playoffs, right from when you get there for warmup. You get out there, the atmosphere's great, and it feels like - for some reason, and I don't know how it is in your body - in these games, you don't have an issue with legs or fatigue or anything like that."

 

GIORDANO ON SUCCESS IN ONE-GOAL GAMES:

"It's a combination of things. I think, yeah, we are playing better and are more comfortable in those games. We're playing a lot smarter. We're not taking as many risks when we do get up. It's been great. I don't know - a lot of people wouldn't agree with me, but I think our team, at this point, this year, is in a better spot than we were in last year. I think we're trending in a way better direction."

 

Video: "These points are huge"

 

GIORDANO ON BATTLE OF ALBERTA SUBPLOTS:

"Every game presents new situations. At the end of the day, as players, you take it how it comes to you. These points are huge. Both teams are going to come out with the mindset of having a good start, try and dictate the play and get the two points. At the end of the day, all that other stuff, you take it as it comes."

 

ANDREW MANGIAPANE ON HIS STRONG PLAY VS. OILERS:

"When it's a big game like it is and the points are there, everyone's trying their hardest. Last game, I got a couple goals, right, but those were some good plays by my linemates. I think everyone kind of brings it up a level and we've got to keep doing that."

 

Video: "I think everyone just brings it up a level"

 

SAM BENNETT BATTLE OF ALBERTA BEING 'BACK':

"We're both fighting for a playoff spot. In the past, I don't think the Battle of Alberta has meant as much and the games haven't been as important as they are now."

 

Video: "It's almost like playoff hockey - it has that feel"

 

GEOFF WARD ON WHAT HE'S LEARNED FROM HIS TEAM THIS WEEK:

"You learn a lot, but it's ever-changing. You can't sit here and say that we're going to be the same every night for the last 30 games. That dynamic for us, as much as we want it to be consistent and reliable, it's going to change from game to game. We've learned a lot about where we're at in terms of our team play. Some things we're doing well, some things we need to be better at. We've learned - again - coming out of the break that we've tinkered around with some line combinations again, so we're starting to see some things with those. But it's always under evaluation and it will be that way to the end. Ultimately, you get to the end and you're one of the playoff teams, you hope at that point that you're reliable, you're consistent, and the players that are playing the best play."

 

Video: "It should bring out the best in both teams"

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