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Flames, Oilers meet at Rexall Place for final time

Battle of Alberta will move to Rogers Place next season

by Derek Van Diest / Correspondent

FLAMES (32-40-6) at OILERS (30-42-7)

TV: 10 p.m. ET; CBC, SN, NHL.TV

EDMONTON - The Edmonton Oilers and Calgary Flames will play the final Battle of Alberta at Rexall Place on Saturday.

Oilers center Ryan Nugent-Hopkins is expected to be back in the lineup after missing the past three games with a concussion.

Edmonton has an all-time regular-season record of 54-43-9-6 at home against Calgary.

The Oilers are moving into their new downtown arena, Rogers Place, for the 2016-17 NHL season.

"For me, it all started playing the Flames in the Battle of Alberta, and obviously, this is the last game that will be played here against them," Oilers right wing Jordan Eberle said. "I think any time it's 'Hockey Night in Canada,' everyone gets up for that too. It's always a heated game and an enjoyable one."

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Neither the Oilers nor Flames qualified for the 2016 Stanley Cup Playoffs. The Oilers will miss the playoffs for the 10th consecutive season. The Flames will miss them after making it to the second round in 2015.

Rexall Place had been the site of memorable games between Calgary and Edmonton. 

"It's more of what happened in the past," Flames coach Bob Hartley said. "I remember watching Lanny McDonald, [Wayne] Gretzky and [Jari] Kurri and all those great teams. From the first day that I got to Calgary, those battles are very special for people from Alberta. There have been many great battles, unfortunately in the past years; we've never met in the playoffs and that's where I think rivalries really heat up."

There has not been a playoff series between the Oilers and Flames since 1991.

"The Battle has been cool to follow from way back in the early days," Oilers center Connor McDavid said. "It's pretty interesting that this will be the last game here in Rexall, but just because the building won't be here anymore doesn't mean the Battle will go away."

The Oilers and Flames split the first four games of the season series. The Oilers have been off since losing 2-1 against the Anaheim Ducks on Monday. The Flames lost 3-0 at the Los Angeles Kings on Thursday.

"Connor and I grew up together, and to be part of the Battle of Alberta now is pretty cool for us," Flames center Sam Bennett said. "We're both excited for the future of our teams, and hopefully, we can get that rivalry back up and back into the playoffs."

Goaltender Cam Talbot will start for Edmonton, who have three games remaining in their season. Their final game at Rexall Place is Wednesday against the Vancouver Canucks.

Goaltender Joni Ortio will start for the Flames.

Here are the projected lineups:


Johnny Gaudreau - Sean Monahan - Hunter Shinkaruk

Lance Bouma - Mikael Backlund - Joe Colborne

Michael Ferland - Sam Bennett - Josh Jooris

Brandon Bollig - Matt Stajan - Derek Grant

TJ Brodie - Dougie Hamilton

Mark Giordano - Deryk Engelland

Jyrki Jokipakka - Jakub Nakladal

Joni Ortio

Jonas Hiller

Injured: Karri Ramo (ACL), Ladislav Smid (upper body), Michael Frolik (lower body), Dennis Wideman (arm).

Scratched: Niklas Backstrom, Emile Poirier,


Patrick Maroon - Connor McDavid - Jordan Eberle

Taylor Hall - Leon Draisaitl - Nail Yakupov

Lauri Korpikoski - Ryan Nugent-Hopkins - Iiro Pakarinen

Matt Hendricks - Mark Letestu - Zack Kassian  

Andrej Sekera - Mark Fayne

Jordan Oesterle - Griffin Reinhart

Darnell Nurse - Adam Pardy

Cam Talbot

Laurent Brossoit

Injured: Oscar Klefbom (foot), Andrew Ference (hip), Brandon Davidson (knee), Benoit Pouliot (shoulder), Eric Gryba (knee).

Scratched: Luke Gazdic, Adam Cracknell, Nikita Nikitin, Adam Clendening, Anton Lander

Status report: Pardy will return to the Oilers lineup after missing nine games with a hand injury. … Nugent-Hopkins will replace Lander in the lineup. … Gaudreau will be playing his second game after missing two games with an upper-body injury. … McDavid was named NHL Rookie of the Month for March. It's the third time he has won the monthly award.

Who's hot: Sekera has four assists in his past four games. Eberle has three goals in his past four games. Maroon has three goals and two assists in his past three games. … Brodie has two goals in his past three games.

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