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Battle of Alberta Faces Off at 7pm

by Staff Writer / Edmonton Oilers
For the third time this season, the Battle of Alberta takes place as the Calgary Flames pay a visit to Rexall Place tonight.

The Oilers won the first meeting 3-1. It was the season opener for both teams and took place at Rexall. Two nights later, the Flames won their home opener against the Oilers, 2-1.

Calgary started the season slowly with a 3-7-2 record through their first 12 games but has since rattled off six straight victories to get back into the Western Conference playoff race.

The Oilers went into a slide at the start of November, dropping four straight and seven of nine but have won their last three games including the first two in their current seven-game homestand.

OILERS TO WATCH: Petr Sykora has had a lot of success against the Flames over his career. In 19 career games, he has 11 goals and 20 points. The only team he has done better against in terms of points per game is Tampa Bay (28 GP, 30 PTS). In the two earlier meetings this season, Sykora has two goals and an assist. Sykora has also done well at Rexall Place this season, racking up 14 of his 20 points on home ice Ryan Smyth has eight goals in 10 home games this season and 14 overall to rank in a tie with Ilya Kovalchuk for third in the NHL.

FLAMES TO WATCH: Goaltender Miikka Kiprusoff has been a huge reason for the Flames recent turnaround. In the past six games, hes allowed only six goals with two shutouts Known for being a notoriously slow starter, Jarome Iginla is off to one of the faster starts of his career. Through 18 games, he has nine goals and 12 assists for 21 points Ales Tanguay had only five points through 10 games in October but has been on fire in November, registering at least a point in seven of eight games and at least two points in each of his last four outings.

ROSTER UPDATES: Edmonton – Ethan Moreau (shoulder) is out; Calgary – Stephane Yelle (leg) is doubtful.

FAST FACTS: At 90.1%, the Oilers have the third-best penalty kill in the entire NHL. In terms of actual power play goals allowed, theyre tied for second with only 10 goals against The Flames have only allowed one even-strength goal throughout their six-game win streak and that goal came in the first game of the streak back on November 4. The even-strength goal was scored by Bill Guerin just as Flames defenceman Robyn Regehr was coming out of the penalty box

STAIOS SIGNS EXTENSION: The Edmonton Oilers have signed defenceman Steve Staios to a four-year contract extension that will run through the 2010-11 season. Staios has scored a goal and eight assists in 20 games for the Oilers this season and is tied for the scoring lead among Edmonton defencemen with Daniel Tjarnqvist. The 61", 200-pound native of Hamilton, Ontario leads the Oilers in penalty minutes (50), blocked shots (55) and is second in hits (22), plus/minus (+4) and ice time, averaging 21:44 minutes per game. His 55 blocked shots ranks him fifth in the NHL.

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  • UP NEXT: The Oilers meet the Chicago Blackhawks Friday night at 7:00 p.m. MST.
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