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'Battle of Alberta' begins Tuesday

by Brian Compton
OILERS (2-1-1) at FLAMES (1-3-0)


Season Series: This is the first of six meetings between the fierce rivals. Calgary went 5-1-0 against Edmonton last season and outscored the Oilers 23-17 along the way.

Big Story: It's still very early in the season, but Tuesday's showdown could feature teams headed in opposite directions. Edmonton, one of the youngest and quickest teams in the League, has earned points in three of its first four games. Calgary, meanwhile, has won only once in its first four and has already allowed 5 goals in a game on two occasions.

Team Scope:

Oilers: Ryan Smyth came up big Monday night as he scored the game winner and added an assist as Edmonton earned a 3-1 victory against the Nashville Predators at Rexall Place.

Taylor Hall and Ryan Jones also scored for the Oilers, while Shawn Horcoff had three assists as Edmonton tallied its second win of the season.

"It was an all-around 60-minute game from everyone tonight," Smyth said. "We played physical and got pucks to the net and when you do that good things will happen."

Flames: Calgary failed to win its second straight game Saturday night, as it suffered a 3-2 loss at Toronto. The Flames experienced a lot of difficulty stopping Leafs forward Phil Kessel, who had a pair of goals and an assist as Toronto rallied from an early two-goal deficit.

"We feel we made some mistakes and that's a game that we were in pretty good control of and should have found a way to win," Flames captain Jarome Iginla said.

Who's Hot: Flames forwards Olli Jokinen (1 goal, 3 assists) and Alex Tanguay (4 assists) are averaging a point per game.

Injury Report: Oilers defenseman Ryan Whitney and center Sam Gagner are day-to-day with ankle injuries, while winger Ales Hemsky (shoulder) is out for likely another couple of weeks. … Calgary is expected to be without center Mikael Backlund (finger) as well as left wing Raitis Ivanans (concussion) and defenseman Brett Carson (back). Brendan Morrison (knee) could play and will likely be a game-time decision.

Stat Pack: Iginla, who has one goal in four games this season, is 15 goals shy of 500 in his Hall of Fame career.

Puck Drop: "It's a tough time when things aren't going well but a lot of times, a good team is a team that can deal with adversity. I think last year we proved that hey, we can be a good team when we do all the little things right. I know this isn't last year. A lot of things have changed." -- Flames center Brendan Morrison
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