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Oilers, Flames seek offense in Battle of Alberta

by Derek Van Diest

EDMONTON -- Goals have been hard to come by for the Edmonton Oilers and Calgary Flames of late.

Both teams were shut out in their previous game, heading into the latest edition of the Battle of Alberta on Saturday night at Rexall Place.

The Oilers lost 3-0 against the Minnesota Wild, while the Flames were blanked 2-0 by the Los Angeles Kings.

"You're certainly hoping it was just rust, the way we played the last game," Oilers left wing David Perron said. "We'll take it as that, move forward and try to have a good one [Saturday].

"It's always fun playing against Calgary. It's a team we're trying to catch in the standings right now and they probably don't want to go where we are right now. So we have to get the two points."

Jostling at the bottom of the Western Conference standings, both teams have had disappointing seasons. The Flames are currently at the beginning of a rebuilding phase, which saw them trade off assets last season in order to build through the NHL Draft.

The Oilers are four years into their rebuilding phase, yet have not been able to work their way closer to a spot in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

Regardless, a game against provincial rivals tends to bring the best out in each team.

"I'm excited to play in my first Battle of Alberta," Oilers left wing Matt Hendricks said. "We need to go out and play with our energy right away. We need to get our fans behind us, get our building behind us and good things will happen. We're definitely a better team when we play with the lead.

"Everyone around the League knows about the rivalry. You see it on Hockey Night in Canada all the time, it's an exciting series. The fans are very passionate about their hockey teams. It's not only teams clashing out there, it's the fans and the cities, so it's very exciting to be a part of."

The Oilers will be without right wing Nail Yakupov, out with a foot injury after being hit by a shot in the loss to the Wild.

Yakupov represents a part of the Oilers' future.

The Flames will also have their future on display Saturday, with Sean Monahan, Joe Colborne and Markus Granlund playing on the same line.

Granlund was recently called up by Calgary and made his NHL debut in the loss to Los Angeles.

"We're looking for offense, obviously," Flames coach Bob Hartley said. "I don't think we can play much better than we've been playing, but goals are not going in at a pace that we would like to. We're trying to create new chemistry to see what we can get. For Granlund, we're trying to put him into an offensive role."

Ilya Bryzgalov will get the start in goal for the Oilers. Reto Berra starts for the Flames.

Here are the lineups for the Flames and Oilers.


Mike Cammalleri - Matt StajanDavid Jones

TJ GaliardiMikael BacklundJiri Hudler

Markus GranlundSean MonahanJoe Colborne

Kevin WestgarthPaul ByronLance Bouma

Mark GiordanoTJ Brodie

Ladislav SmidDennis Wideman

Kris RussellChris Butler

Reto Berra

Joni Ortio

Scratched: Derek Smith, Lee Stempniak, Chad Billins

Injured: Curtis Glencross (ankle sprain), Karri Ramo (lower body), Brian McGrattan (upper body)


Taylor HallRyan Nugent-HopkinsAles Hemsky

David PerronSam GagnerJordan Eberle

Matt HendricksBoyd GordonJesse Joensuu

Luke GazdicRyan SmythRyan Jones

Mark FraserAndrew Ference

Martin MarincinJeff Petry

Nick SchultzJustin Schultz

Ilya Bryzgalov

Ben Scrivens

Scratched: Corey Potter

Injured: Philip Larsen (illness), Nail Yakupov (foot), Anton Belov (undisclosed)

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