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Flames can sweep Battle of Alberta by beating Oilers

by Mike G. Morreale

OILERS (16-30-6) at FLAMES (26-20-8)

Last 10 -- Edmonton 0-8-2; Calgary 1-6-3

Season series --
Five games in the books in the Battle of Alberta, and all have gone to the Flames. On Dec. 31, Craig Conroy scored the decisive goal with 10 seconds remaining in the second period of a 2-1 victory.

Big Story -- Mike Comrie was back in the lineup for the Oilers for the first time in 31 games on Thursday in a 2-1 loss to the Blues. In mid-November, Comrie was diagnosed with mononucleosis and went nearly two months without stepping foot on the ice. He started practicing with the team last week and was playing with Ryan Potulny and Gilbert Brule on Thursday. Comrie took 2 shots in 13:12 of ice time.

"I think when you're in a situation like this, the biggest thing is to create some energy and hopefully generate some chances," Comrie said of his first game in over two months. He hasn't scored more than 7 goals since the 2007-08 campaign when he notched 21 with the New York Islanders.

Team Scope:

Oilers -- The Oilers have hit rock bottom, ranked 30th in the NHL for the first time in franchise history. They have lost 12 straight and 19 of their last 20 games.

Defenseman Sheldon Souray has been rumored to be on the trading block. Souray admitted he'd waive his no-trade clause before it expires July 1 if the team inquiring happens to be the right fit. Souray has already submitted a list of 10 teams he'd be interested in playing for to GM Steve Tambellini.

"I've talked to Steve and I've talked to my agent about it," Souray said. "They both know my feelings. One of the big reasons I signed here is to be close to my kids. My family is from here, so when my kids come in (from Los Angeles, where they live with his ex-wife) they can be with (their) grandma and with my sister's kids and things like that."

Flames --
The situation has also been difficult in Calgary, where the Flames suffered their ninth straight defeat on Thursday following a 3-2 shootout loss to Phoenix. How bad has it been? Well, right wing Jarome Iginla snapped an 11-game goal drought on a first-period tally against the Dallas Stars on Tuesday in a 4-3 shootout loss.

Who's Hot --
Calgary defenseman Jay Bouwmeester holds the longest current ironman streak in the NHL at 396 straight appearances. In six-plus seasons in the League, however, Bouwmeester has never participated in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

Injury Report --
The Oilers are without forward Ales Hemsky (shoulder) and Ryan Stone (knee), defensemen Steve Staios (concussion) and Ladislav Smid (concussion) and goalie Nikolai Khabibulin (back surgery). ... Calgary forwards David Moss (shoulder), Nigel Dawes (leg) and Conroy (knee) are out.

Stat Pack --
Calgary has a 20-1-2 record when leading after two periods -- the lone regulation loss coming in Anaheim on Jan. 17 when the Flames dropped a 5-4 decision after leading 4-3 through 40 minutes. … Edmonton's Brule, who is in his fifth NHL season, will be playing in his 200th career game when he steps on the ice against the Flames.

Puck Drop --
Iginla notched career assist No. 467 on Thursday against the Coyotes to move into second place on the franchise's all-time list in that category -- one ahead of Theoren Fleury. Defenseman Al MacInnis ranks first with 609 helpers.

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