As the Calgary Flames continue to struggle, the Edmonton Oilers might be starting to heat up.
The Oilers will try for a third straight victory and second in six days over the Flames when the provincial rivals meet Saturday in Calgary.
|Jarome Iginla gets checked into Mathieu Garon in last Monday's matchup. (AP Photo/The Canadian Press,Jimmy Jeong)
While fighting for position in the tightly contested Northwest Division - the top four teams are separated by three points - Calgary (27-20-8) has lost three of four. That skid includes a 5-0 loss at Edmonton on Monday.
It was the Flames' second consecutive defeat to the Oilers (25-26-5), who are last in the Northwest but are coming off back-to-back wins and have gone 3-2-0 versus Calgary this season.
The teams enter this contest coming off different results against the Chicago Blackhawks.
Edmonton beat the Blackhawks 4-1 on Wednesday, continuing its solid play offensively in its second game since leading scorer Shawn Horcoff was lost for the season with a shoulder injury.
Joni Pitkanen had a goal and an assist while Jarrett Stoll, Dustin Penner and Ethan Moreau each scored for Edmonton, which is seven points behind the Flames.
"We have lots of energy and lots of good things are happening," Oilers coach Craig MacTavish said. "I can't really think of a time all season where we've had this much life on the bench. It's a product of having a little taste of success in the short term here.
"Hopefully, we can continue in the same way and build some wins and get ourselves back into it."
The power play has been a big reason for the Oilers' recent success. Near the bottom of the league with a 15.6 power-play percentage, Edmonton is 5-for-14 with the man advantage in its last two games. It is 6-for-25 (24 percent) on the power play versus Calgary this season.
"We've been working on it for the past week, trying different looks and different personnel," said Penner, who also had a goal versus Calgary on Monday. "And we seem to have found what we needed. The guys are really starting to click."
Mathieu Garon made 40 saves against Chicago after he recorded his fourth shutout of the season against Calgary on Monday. Garon is 3-1-0 with a 1.51 goals-against average versus the Flames this season.
Calgary lost 3-1 to Chicago on Thursday night. Adrian Aucoin scored for the Flames, who have been outscored 13-6 in their last four games while going 1-for-18 on the power play.
"(Thursday) it seemed like we were fighting the puck," said forward Alex Tanguay, who has a goal and three assists versus Edmonton this season. "We were giving the puck away, we were putting the pucks in bad areas and that's just mental sharpness. Everybody's responsible to be accountable before the game and be ready and we were ready for some shifts, and not ready for others."
Calgary's Miikka Kiprusoff made 25 saves Thursday, but lost for the second time in three starts. Though he is 2-2-0 versus Edmonton this season, Kiprusoff has 14 wins with a 1.82 GAA in 24 career starts against the Oilers.
The teams have split two meetings in Calgary this season.