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Preview: Oilers at Flames

Goaltender Laurent Brossoit to make season debut for Edmonton; Calgary looks to close gap in Western Conference

by Aaron Vickers / Correspondent

OILERS (25-15-8) at FLAMES (24-21-3)

10 p.m. ET; CBC, SN, NHL.TV 


Oilers team scope

Edmonton Oilers goaltender Laurent Brossoit, drafted in the sixth round (No. 164) of the 2011 NHL Draft by the Calgary Flames, will make his season debut after Cam Talbot made 42 saves in a 4-3 overtime loss against the Nashville Predators on Friday to end the Oilers' four-game winning streak. Brossoit, recalled from Bakersfield of the American Hockey League on Jan. 11, is 0-5-1 in six career NHL starts. "Hopefully he gets the support he needs from the players in front of him and has a great night," coach Todd McLellan said. Talbot leads NHL goaltenders in games played (43), minutes (2588:43) and saves (1,185). "It's always disappointing when you lose in a shootout like that," goaltender Cam Talbot said after the game Friday. "You never want to give up any points, especially now, we need to start separating ourselves from teams below us and catch the guys ahead of us." The Oilers are in third place in the Pacific Division with 58 points, seven points ahead of the fourth-place Calgary Flames. Edmonton is 6-2-1 in its past nine games, including a 2-1 shootout win against Calgary at home last Saturday. The Oilers have won all three games against the Flames this season. Forward Matt Hendricks will play in his 500th NHL game.

Flames team scope

The Flames hold the second wild card into the Stanley Cup Playoffs from the Western Conference. The Nashville Predators, like the Flames, have 51 points, but Nashville holds the first wild card because it has two games in hand. "It's as big as it gets for us," captain Mark Giordano said. "Teams are on us getting points, closing the gap, and we've got to get this one tonight. We can't fall further behind. It's going to be too big of a gap." Calgary is 1-2-1 in its past four games and 3-4-1 in its past eight. "We're not happy with it," Giordano said. "We've been pretty inconsistent the last couple weeks. We've had great games and we've had terrible games." Goaltender Chad Johnson will make his seventh start in the past eight games, and first against the Oilers this season. Brian Elliott started the three previous games against Edmonton, each of them losses. "You always want to beat the Oilers," said Johnson, who has allowed two goals or fewer in five of his past six starts. "You're in Calgary. It's what Calgary wants to do. It's what we want to do. We want to win. You want to outplay your Alberta counterpart. Our focus is on tonight and playing well. Our focus isn't on the standings. It's on what we want to do as a group." Defenseman Dennis Wideman will play in his 800th NHL game.


Oilers projected lineup

Patrick Maroon -- Connor McDavid -- Leon Draisaitl

Benoit Pouliot -- Ryan Nugent-Hopkins -- Jordan Eberle

Milan Lucic -- Drake Caggiula -- Anton Slepyshev

Matt Hendricks -- Mark Letestu -- Zack Kassian

Oscar Klefbom -- Adam Larsson

Andrej Sekera -- Kris Russell

Brandon Davidson -- Matthew Benning

Laurent Brossoit

Cam Talbot

Scratched: Eric Gryba, Anton Lander

Injured: Andrew Ference (hip), Iiro Pakarinen (knee), Darnell Nurse (foot), Tyler Pitlick (knee), Jujhar Khaira (upper body)


Flames projected lineup

Kris Versteeg -- Sean Monahan -- Troy Brouwer

Matthew Tkachuk -- Mikael Backlund -- Michael Frolik

Johnny Gaudreau -- Sam Bennett -- Alex Chiasson

Lance Bouma -- Matt Stajan -- Micheal Ferland

Mark Giordano -- Dougie Hamilton

TJ Brodie -- Dennis Wideman

Jyrki Jokipakka -- Deryk Engelland

Chad Johnson

Brian Elliott

Scratched: Brett Kulak, Freddie Hamilton

Injured: Garnet Hathaway (upper body)

Status report

The Oilers did not skate Saturday morning. … Hathaway will miss his third straight game because of an upper-body injury sustained at Edmonton on Jan. 14. Bennett will return to the lineup in place of Freddie Hamilton after being a healthy scratch against Nashville on Thursday.

Who's hot

McDavid has five points (one goal, four assists) in his past three games. … Draisaitl has six points (two goals, four assists) in his past five games. … Backlund has 17 points (eight goals, nine assists) in his past 13 games. … Dougie Hamilton has six points (one goal, five assists) in his past five games. … Monahan has six points (four goals, two assists) in a four-game point streak.

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