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Oilers-Flames Preview @NHL
Oilers-Flames Preview

GAME: Edmonton Oilers (13-10-1) at Calgary Flames (14-8-2).

TIME: Friday, 9 p.m. EST.

The Calgary Flames have won 10 of their last 11 games while the Edmonton Oilers have won four of five.

The Northwest Division rivals both look to continue their strong play when they meet for the third time this season.

Since struggling to a 4-7-2 mark in October, the Flames have been a completely different team this month, going 10-1-0 to move near the top of the Northwest Division.

After their eight-game winning streak was snapped by Chicago on Nov. 18, the Flames beat Colorado 3-2 in a shootout on Monday and defeated visiting San Jose 3-2 on Wednesday.

Defenseman Robyn Regehr scored the go-ahead goal midway through the third period and Roman Hamrlik and Tony Amonte also scored for Calgary, which held an opponent to three goals or fewer for the 12th time in the last 13 games.

"It was a tough game right from the start, those guys were hungry and played hard," Amonte said. "It was probably one of our tougher games all season, a game you had to grind it out, you knew there wasn't going to be a lot of scoring, and we got the breaks in the end."

The Flames have needed to be strong defensively because they've scored four goals or more in just three of 24 games. They are averaging 2.54 goals per contest, one of the league's worst marks.

Goaltender Miikka Kiprusoff has been very sharp lately following a sluggish start. Kiprusoff, tied for second in the NHL with 12 wins, has allowed only 16 goals in his last nine games. He surrendered 21 goals in his first five contests this season.

Edmonton is also playing well, going 10-3-1 since losing seven straight in October.

Ethan Moreau's goal with 50 seconds left in regulation lifted the Oilers to a 4-3 victory at Minnesota on Wednesday.

"Yeah, we got a break at the end," Oilers coach Craig MacTavish said. "But we were due for a break, especially Ethan. It was great to see him get a break there and win us a hockey game."

Rookie Mike Morrison stopped 22 shots, improving to 3-0 this season. No. 1 goaltender Jussi Markkanen has struggled lately, losing four of his last six decisions while allowing 20 goals in that span.

Poor penalty killing remains a concern for the Oilers, who have given up eight power-play goals in 32 opportunities in the past five contests.

STANDINGS (through Nov. 24): Oilers - 27 points, 3rd place, 5 PB, Northwest Division. Flames - 30 points, 2nd place, 2 PB, Northwest Division.

TEAM LEADERS: Oilers - Ryan Smyth and Raffi Torres, 11 goals; Shawn Horcoff, 20 assists and 24 points; Moreau, 45 PIM. Flames - Jarome Iginla, 11 goals, 12 assists and 23 points; Darren McCarty, 47 PIM.

SPECIAL TEAMS (through Nov. 24): Oilers - Power play: 17.4 percent (26 for 149), 18th in NHL. Penalty killing: 81 percent (120 for 148), 21st (tied). Flames - Power play: 16 percent (24 for 150), 22nd. Penalty killing: 80.1 percent (113 for 141), 24th.

GOALTENDERS: Oilers - Morrison (3-0-0, 0 SO, 1.65 GAA); Markkanen (9-9-1, 3.00). Flames - Kiprusoff (12-7-2, 3, 2.40); Philippe Sauve (2-1-0, 2.68).

SEASON SERIES: Flames, 2-0.

LAST MEETING: Oct. 20; Flames, 3-1. At Calgary, Alberta, Chuck Kobasew scored two goals and Kiprusoff made 28 saves to lead the Flames.

ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Oilers - 8-7-0 on the road; Flames - 10-2-1 at home.

Associated Press
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