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At the Rink: Oilers at Flames

by Aaron Vickers / NHL.com

CALGARY -- Edmonton Oilers forward Taylor Hall will not be featured in the latest installment of the ‘Battle of Alberta.'

Hall joined teammates in Saturday’s morning skate but isn’t expected to be an option when the Oilers play the Calgary Flames at Scotiabank Saddledome on Saturday.

“It’s good. It was nice to be out there with the guys again and positive to be able to put a skate on and start moving again,” said Hall, who has missed the past two games with a foot injury. “Hopefully I can get a good practice in tomorrow and get ready for San Jose (on Monday) but nothing for sure. It felt pretty good.”

Hall took a shot off the ankle in practice Monday and hasn’t played since.

“I just took a shot kind of where there is no protection right above the boot,” he said. “It’s just an unfortunate thing. It hit the bone, hit right on the fibula and bruised it pretty bad.

“It’s always tough to tell with a foot injury when you get hit with the puck. Sometimes it hurts really bad and goes away 30 seconds later. This one hung around and I realized I wasn’t going to be able to practice and eventually wasn’t going to be able to play. It’s tough coming out of the break. I thought I refreshed my mind pretty well and I got prepared to have a good last 35 games and this happens. That’s the way it goes.”

Hall’s injury comes at a time where the Oilers are showing a bit of a resurgence.

Though 29th overall in the NHL standings and last in the Western Conference with a 13-27-9 record, Edmonton has three wins in the past four games.

It’s eased his recovery, Hall said.

“I think it makes it a lot easier when the guys are winning and playing well,” said Hall, who is tied alongside Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Jordan Eberle for the team lead in points with 29. “You don’t have that added pressure to get back and try to help the guys. I’m trying to treat this injury a little different then I treated my knee. I’m trying to let it heal and make sure that I’m back when I’m ready.”

The Flames said they are aware of the improved play from their provincial rival.

With or without Hall, Calgary captain Mark Giordano said he doesn’t plan on taking the Oilers lightly.

"They made some adjustments for sure in their style of play,” said Giordano, whose Flames sit 20 points ahead of the Oilers in the NHL standings. “They've been good lately; they've won three of four so we need to be aware. Even going back to the last time we played them (on Dec. 31) it's a different team. They're playing with a lot more energy and a lot more structure.

“There's guys who are playing with a lot more energy and a lot more structure. We've got to be aware. It sounds cliché but you can't take anyone lightly, they're a good enough team to beat us, and we have to bring our 'A' game for sure."

Here are the projected lineups:

OILERS

Benoit Pouliot - Ryan Nugent-Hopkins - Jordan Eberle

Nail Yakupov - Teddy Purcell - Derek Roy

Matt Fraser - Anton Lander - Luke Gazdic

Matt Hendricks - Boyd Gordon - Rob Klinkhammer

Oscar Klefbom - Jeff Petry

Keith Aulie - Mark Fayne

Andrew Ference - Justin Schultz

Ben Scrivens

Viktor Fasth

Scratched: None

Injured: Tyler Pitlick (lacerated spleen), Taylor Hall (leg), Nikita Nikitin (shoulder)

FLAMES

Johnny Gaudreau - Sean Monahan - Jiri Hudler

Mason Raymond - Josh Jooris - Joe Colborne

Lance Bouma - Mikael Backlund - David Jones

Brandon Bollig - Matt Stajan - Paul Byron

Mark Giordano - TJ Brodie

Kris Russell - Dennis Wideman

Raphael Diaz - Deryk Engelland

Jonas Hiller

Karri Ramo

Scratched: Sven Baertschi, David Wolf, Tyler Wotherspoon

Injured: Sam Bennett (shoulder surgery), Curtis Glencross (lower body), Ladislav Smid (upper body)

Status report: Aulie is expected to play his first game in 12 in place of the injured Nikitin. … Hudler and Russell were absent from Calgary’s morning skate due to illness but both are expected to play.

Who’s hot: Klefbom has a goal and two assists over a three-game point streak. … Monahan has four goals and six points in his past six games. Hiller has allowed just two goals on 50 shots in his previous two starts.

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