For a Calgary Flames team in the Northwest Division driver's seat, successfully wrapping up a stretch of three straight games against division foes could bring that title closer.
For an Edmonton Oilers club scrapping just to make the playoffs, every remaining game looms large.
The Flames go for their fourth win in five games overall and their fourth consecutive road victory Saturday night when they visit the provincial rival Oilers.
Seeking its first division title since 2005-06, Calgary (34-18-6) leads the Northwest by eight points over Vancouver and 12 over third-place Edmonton (29-25-4). The Flames have helped their cause by earning at least a point in each of their last six games (4-0-2) following a season-worst four-game losing streak to open February.
This will conclude a stretch of three straight divisional matchups for the Flames, who followed Tuesday's 4-3 shootout loss at home to the Canucks with a 3-2 overtime win Thursday at fourth-place Minnesota.
Adrian Aucoin, who'd hit the post with a shot earlier in the extra session, scored with 1:10 remaining. Rene Bourque and Dustin Boyd scored Calgary's other goals.
"We knew this was three important games in our division that we have to make sure we are getting points and win the games," Boyd said. "Tonight wasn't the prettiest, but we got the victory."
Defense was a big reason why they came out on top. After surrendering an average of 39 shots in its previous four games, Calgary allowed only 29 on Thursday, and Miikka Kiprusoff barely worked in the third period.
"I only saw one shot in the third period and I kind of liked it," he said.
Casting a shadow on the victory, Bourque suffered an ankle injury. Flames coach Mike Keenan said the winger, whose career-high 21 goals are tied for second on the team, is "going to be gone for a long time."
With 62 points, the Oilers currently hold the eighth and final playoff spot in the West, leading ninth-place Anaheim by one point and trailing seventh-place Dallas by three.
Edmonton had a chance to overtake the Stars on Thursday, but lost 4-2 and headed home with an even split of its four-game road trip - which began with wins in Los Angeles and Phoenix.
"The team that puts together a .750 road trip is one of the teams that's going to get into the playoffs," Oilers coach Craig MacTavish said. "We could have really helped ourselves."
Liam Reddox and Shawn Horcoff scored for the Oilers, who have managed two goals or fewer in nine of their 10 losses since the New Year. They are 10-1-0 since the start of January when scoring three or more.
They've scored at least three times in all three of their previous meetings with Calgary this season, with two wins to show for it. They lost the most recent one, though, 6-4 at the Pengrowth Saddledome on Dec. 31, when Jarome Iginla and Michael Cammalleri each had two goals and three assists for the Flames.
Returning home won't necessarily help Edmonton. The Oilers are 13-11-3 at Rexall Place compared 16-14-1 on the road, and are tied with Los Angeles for the fewest home wins in the West.