CALGARY, AB -- Winners of four straight, the Edmonton Oilers are trending in the right direction to earn their first playoff appearance in since appearing in the Stanley Cup Finals in 2006.
Knocking on the door, the Oilers currently sit one point out of ninth place, putting an increased importance from an Edmonton perspective on the second half of a back-to-back, home-and-home set against the Calgary Flames. The Oilers have the opportunity to sweep the set and take an edge in the season series when the two step on the ice at Scotiabank Saddledome on Wednesday.
The game will come just hours after the conclusion of the National Hockey League's trade deadline.
The Flames have already been active on the trade front, dealing Jarome Iginla and Jay Bouwmeester in the span of a week. Edmonton, on the other hand, has yet to dip into the trade pool but did re-sign defenseman Ladislav Smid to a to a four-year, $14-million contract extension on Monday.
FLAMES RECORD VS. OILERS: 1-1-0
Calgary opened the 2013 edition of the Battle of Alberta with a 4-3 win at Scotiabank Saddledome before dropping the first of a home-and-home set in Edmonton 4-1 on Monday.
The Oilers jumped out to a quick start, putting their first two shots behind starter Miikka Kiprusoff and adding another on their sixth shot, chasing the Calgary goaltender from the game. Edmonton added another in the third before Brian McGrattan scored his second in as many games to break Devan Dubnyk's shutout bid.
Left Wing - EDM
GOALS: 12 | ASST: 24 | PTS: 36
SOG: 104 | +/-: 4
Hall remains one of the league's hottest players, extending his point scoring streak to five games. Over that run, Hall has six goals and 10 points. The 21-year-old former first overall pick leads the Oilers with 24 assists and 36 points in 32 games this season. His 12 goals place him just one behind Sam Gagner's team lead of 13 as well.
Left Wing - EDM
GOALS: 2 | ASST: 6 | PTS: 8
SOG: 51 | +/-: -3
Coming off a 19-goal, 46-point campaign a season ago, Smyth has struggled in his 17th National Hockey League season. The 37-year-old has just two goals to his credit this year, his last coming on February 21st at the expense of the Minnesota Wild. The veteran of 1185 career games has failed to record a point in his last 10 contests playing in a reduced role.
THREE PLAYERS TO WATCH
With a three-point performance against the Flames on Monday, Schultz matched the output from his previous 14 games. The 22-year-old rookie leads all defensemen in scoring for the Oilers with six goals and 19 points in 35 games this season.
Though he had his personal shutout streak snapped at 166:28 by Brian McGrattan with just 1:32 remaining in Monday's game, Dubnyk shouldn't be down. The six-foot-five keeper has been lights out of late and strong all season, as his 2.52 goals against average and .922 save percentage will attest to.
Recalled but scratched against the Flames on Monday, Lander could make his return to the Oilers lineup Wednesday in Calgary. Though he's played just four NHL games this season, the 21-year-old center is fresh off an AHL Player of the Week award that saw him rack up eight points in three games last week. Lander is expected to remain with the team for the rest of the season.
BY THE NUMBERS
Edmonton Record This Season: 15-13-7 (9th in Western Conference)
Edmonton Record Last Season: 32-40-10 (14th in Western Conference)
Calgary Record This Season: 13-17-4 (14th in Western Conference)
Edmonton Scoring Leaders: CLICK HERE
Calgary Scoring Leaders: CLICK HERE