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Latest Battle of Alberta sees Oilers in spoilers' role

by Robin Brownlee
EDMONTON -- Misery loves company, and the Edmonton Oilers would like nothing more than to have a part in putting an end to the playoff hopes of the Calgary Flames when the Alberta rivals square off Saturday night at Rexall Place.

Out of the Western Conference playoff picture for a fifth straight season and long ago relegated to the role of spoilers, the Oilers can deal a huge blow to the postseason hopes of the Flames with a win.

Provincial bragging rights aside, there's definitely something at stake in the latest edition of the Battle of Alberta.

"It's a big deal for coaches, too, who have got an opportunity to coach in the Battle of Alberta," Edmonton coach Tom Renney said.

"Obviously, we hoped we would both be in a playoff position, hunting down those points, but we're not. Certainly, our opponent is. Any time you can play the spoiler role, get in somebody's way and disrupt what their plan is, that's a good thing."

The Oilers have lost eight straight games and sit last in overall NHL standings, while the Flames arrive on a three-game losing streak and locked in a battle with Anaheim and Dallas for eighth place in the west.

Anaheim holds down eighth spot with 87 points in 74 games. Dallas is ninth with 86 points after 73 games. The Flames are in 10th and within reach at 85 points, but they've played 76 games.

"If we win, we could really put a damper on their season," forward Andrew Cogliano said. "That's exactly what we want.

"This is going to be an emotional game for them and it should be for us. We need to start winning and playing good hockey and there's no better way than to start against the Flames."

Around the Rink: The Oilers are coming off a 4-0 loss in St. Louis on Thursday and are 0-6-2 in their last eight games. During that eight-game stretch, the Oilers have been shut out twice, while scoring just seven goals and being outscored 29-7. ... The Flames are 0-1-2 in their last three games and are coming off a 6-3 loss to San Jose on Wednesday. ... The Oilers beat the Flames 4-0 on opening night but have lost three straight to Calgary in the season series since, dropping a 5-3 decision Oct. 16, losing 5-4 in a shootout Oct. 26 and 2-1 on Jan. 1..
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