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At the Rink: Oilers at Flames

by Aaron Vickers

CALGARY -- Calgary Flames rookie Josh Jooris isn't about to take the Edmonton Oilers lightly.

Facing the Oilers on Wednesday in the Battle of Alberta for the second time in five days, Jooris knows the value of beating the Flames' provincial rival, who snapped a nine-game losing streak (0-7-2) in a 3-2 shootout win Tuesday against the defending Stanley Cup champion Los Angeles Kings.

"They're coming off a big win," said Jooris, who will return to the lineup after missing three games with an upper-body injury. "I think it's kind of a fresh start. They're 1-1 in the post-Christmas break. Any team in this League is dangerous. You can't take any team in this League for granted. The fact that we beat them in our building a couple of nights ago, I think that's some extra fire for them. We can't worry about them; we just have to worry about our game tonight."

Calgary (20-15-3) handled the Oilers coming out of the holiday break Saturday, jumping to a 3-0 first-period lead en route to a 4-1 win to give Edmonton (8-22-7) its ninth consecutive loss.

But the game left plenty to be desired for the Flames, who enter Wednesday having won three straight.

"When you get up on a team it's hard to maintain that for a full 60 minutes," said forward Joe Colborne, who snapped a personal 26-game goal drought against Edmonton. "It's almost impossible. We have to realize they're going to push back. And when they do, you weather it and try to do everything you can to get back in the swing of things and back playing our game."

It's a message that has been delivered by coach Bob Hartley.

There isn't room for a night off with the Flames looking to keep stride in the Western Conference.

"With all the healthy bodies that we have around, if there's anyone that dares to think about complacency there's going to be bad news on the horizon. That's for sure," Hartley said. "Our mindset is the [Stanley Cup] Playoffs. Don't look at the schedule. Don't look at the opponents. Look at the standings."

Colborne said the players have received that message loud and clear.

There's no easy game to be found against an Oilers team that, despite coming off a win, has two victories in the past 22 games (2-14-6).

"There's no underestimating these guys right now, especially seeing how they beat a very good team [Tuesday]," Colborne said. "No matter where either team is in the standings, when it's your big rival they come to play every time. It's going to be a tough game. I don't think anyone on this team is going to take them lightly."

The Oilers had a sparsely attended optional morning skate Wednesday after playing Tuesday.

Here are the projected lineups:


Taylor Hall - Ryan Nugent-Hopkins - Jordan Eberle

Nail Yakupov - Derek Roy - Teddy Purcell

David Perron - Leon Draisaitl - Matt Fraser

Matt Hendricks - Boyd Gordon - Tyler Pitlick

Oscar Klefbom - Mark Fayne

Keith Aulie - Justin Schultz

Andrew Ference - Jeff Petry

Ben Scrivens

Viktor Fasth

Scratched: Nikita Nikitin, Luke Gazdic, Steven Pinizzotto

Injured: Benoit Pouliot (foot)


Johnny Gaudreau - Markus Granlund - Jiri Hudler

Curtis Glencross - Sean Monahan - David Jones

Paul Byron - Josh Jooris - Joe Colborne

Brandon Bollig - Matt Stajan - Lance Bouma

Mark Giordano - TJ Brodie

Kris Russell - Dennis Wideman

Raphael Diaz - Deryk Engelland

Jonas Hiller

Karri Ramo

Scratched: Mason Raymond, Brian McGrattan, Corey Potter

Injured: Sam Bennett (shoulder surgery), Mikael Backlund (abdomen), Ladislav Smid (upper body)

Status report: Scrivens is expected to make back-to-back starts after facing the Kings on Tuesday. He has 58 saves on his past 60 shots. ... Aulie is expected to draw in for Nikitin, who returned against Los Angeles after missing 10 games with a back injury. … With Jooris returning, Raymond is expected to be a healthy scratch for the Flames. He's been held pointless in 10 games since missing 18 with a shoulder injury.

Who's hot: Nugent-Hopkins has four goals and five points in his past six games. … Hudler, who has overtaken Giordano for the Flames lead in points, has six assists in his past four games. ... Gaudreau has five goals and six points during a four-game point streak.

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