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Flames host Oilers looking to build on big win

by Matthew Mankiewich

OILERS (12-24-3) at FLAMES (14-17-6)


Last 10: Edmonton 3-6-1; Calgary 4-4-2

Season series: With two of the five games in the books, the Battle of Alberta is in a stalemate. The Edmonton Oilers won the series opener 4-2 at Scotiabank Saddledome on Nov. 16 and the Calgary Flames responded with a 2-1 overtime win at Rexall Place on Dec. 7.

Big story: While these Pacific Division foes have had to go through some recent soul-searching over their master plans, they renew their rivalry with each having found some success prior to the NHL's three-day Christmas break. The Oilers ended a six-game slide (0-6-0) with a 6-2 victory against the Winnipeg Jets; the Flames snapped a four-game losing streak (0-2-2) with a 4-3 shootout win against the same St. Louis Blues team that had dealt the Oilers a 6-0 shutout Saturday.

Team Scope:

Oilers: They didn't go into Christmas on a losing streak, and they made their general manager look good in the process. That was the prevailing train of thought after the Oilers' win against Winnipeg on Monday, especially given Craig MacTavish's "state of the team" comments earlier in the day. Six different Oilers found the net in a strong team effort, and coach Dallas Eakins reflected the feelings of many afterward.

"Don't think our families weren't sitting at home, or wherever these guys are flying, saying, 'Please win the game. We want our family member who is coming home to be in a good mood,'" he said. "I know my wife was looking forward to us winning the game so we could have a good three days together and me not off in La-La Land, solely focused on the next game.

"It's large even during the season when you're not going to play for a couple of days; you don't want to be sitting around with a loss. It's terrible. You're just miserable."

Flames: The numbers don't lie: What the Flames did Monday was impressive for any team. The Blues entered the game 14-0-1 leading after the first period and 16-0-2 leading after the second, and they were up 3-1 on the Flames during the second intermission.

Mike Cammalleri cut the deficit to one and Mark Giordano forced overtime with 4.2 seconds left. Then Joe Colborne scored the only shootout goal between the teams in six rounds to give the Flames the win.

"A fun win," Cammalleri said to the Calgary Herald. "Fun for our fans. Fun for everybody involved.

"We know how good they are. Beating them is especially good because you know it takes a lot to do that. The fact that we were able to make it that hard on them in the third ..."

Who's hot: Oilers forward Taylor Hall had a three-point game Monday and has five points in his past three games. Ryan Nugent-Hopkins has four points in his past three. … Cammalleri and Giordano have three-game point streaks going. Cammalleri and Jiri Hudler have goals in back-to-back games.

Injury report: Oilers forwards Ryan Jones (concussion) and Mark Arcobello (rib), who sat out the Winnipeg game, are questionable. … Flames center Matt Stajan (knee) is day-to-day. Defenseman Kris Russell (knee) and center Blair Jones (knee) are out. Left wing Curtis Glencross (ankle) and defenseman Dennis Wideman (hand) are on injured reserve.

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