EDMONTON, AB - A rebound game is in order for the Oilers, who are coming off 5-1 and 8-2 defeats at the hands of the Ducks and Kings in back-to-back games.
“We need to. There’s no question about that,” Oilers centre Anton Lander said of having a bounce-back performance. “We’ve got to be ready tonight. We’ve got to go out there and have a really good game. Enough is enough.”
When asked what needed to change, Lander said, “Everything, I think.”
“It was embarrassing the last couple of games,” said Lander. “We’ve got to be ready, we’ve got to go out there and go hard, play hard for each other and the fans. It’s just, we’ve got to go out there and play hockey. We can’t sit down and sit back and just wait for the season to get over. We’ve got to go out there and work hard.”
The results of the last two games weigh on the Oilers, as they showed progress in the previous stretch going 5-1-2 prior to their game in Anaheim.
“The last couple games didn’t go the way we wanted to, obviously,” said Oilers Interim Coach Todd Nelson. “We’re back home. There was a lot of life at practice today, which I liked, especially coming off that loss against LA. We have to get back to doing the things we did at home before we left. I thought in Colorado we played a strong game, but the last couple we got away from things that were making us successful. We’ve got to get it back and it’s a great opportunity for our team tonight.”
The Oilers turn their sights on Calgary, a team in the thick of the Western Conference playoff race.
“Calgary is a good team,” Lander said. “They’re a fast team. They have good defencemen, they’re moving the puck well. We’ve got to get up on the forecheck and be ready to block shots because they’re good at finding a way to (get pucks to) the net.”
The Oilers will be without Nikita Nikitin and Mark Fayne. They have recalled David Musil on emergency basis and he will make his NHL debut tonight against Calgary.
AN IMPROVED PROSPECT
David Musil will make his NHL debut tonight. Musil, 21, has come a long way in his second professional season.
“He’s improved a lot,” said Brandon Davidson, who was Musil’s teammate in Oklahoma City. “From last year to this year, I think there are significant changes in his play. He’s definitely grown up a lot and matured into a good hockey player. He’s a simple man like myself, making those simple plays and I think that’s what has earned him the call up. He has done a great job so far and hopefully he can keep moving forward.”
“It has been a good learning year,” said Musil. “I’ve played with a lot of good players and it has been a lot of fun throughout the year.”
Davidson says Musil has become a solid, stay-at-home defenceman in OKC, who plays a simple game much similar to his own. Davidson, a leader in OKC, has spoken to Musil and will try and help him adjust.
“I talked with him this morning and stuff,” said Davidson. “He understands coming up here, what he needs to do, and I think for me, I’m a new guy as well but I’m just trying to make him feel like part of the gang here and letting him get comfortable with things. It’s about getting comfortable and finding your confidence. I just let him do his thing and anyway I can help him, that’s what I’ll do.”
Even with having familiar faces in the locker room, a first NHL game can be an intimidating moment for a young player. But Musil says he’s ready to go.
“I would say I’m more excited. It’s really exciting coming up here, but it’s kind of the good nervous,” said Musil.
QUICK NOTES: Jordan Eberle has 12 points (6-6-12) in his last 10 games. Ryan Nugent-Hopkins has 11 points (5-6-11) in his last 10 games. Justin Schultz is playing in his 200th career NHL game. Nail Yakupov is one point away from tying a career high. Flames 2015 first-round pick Sam Bennett could make his NHL debut tonight and is a game time decision. Calgary has the second-most wins against Western Conference opponents with 28 (trailing only Anaheim).
-- Chris Wescott, edmontonoilers.com
FLAMES (42-29-7) at OILERS (23-42-13)
Season series: The Calgary Flames are looking to sweep the Edmonton Oilers for the first time since 2009-10 after winning the four previous games in the "Battle of Alberta." Led by three goals and three assists from forward Joe Colborne, Calgary has outscored Edmonton 17-8.
Flames team scope: With four games remaining, Calgary has 91 points, one ahead of the Los Angeles Kings for third place in the Pacific Division. The Kings and the Winnipeg Jets (90 points) are tied for the second wild card into the playoffs from the Western Conference; they each have five games left. The Flames on Friday recalled forward Sam Bennett, the fourth pick in the 2014 NHL Draft. The 18-year-old is expected to join the team in Edmonton to end a five-game road trip but is not confirmed to play. "It’s pretty surreal right now," Bennett said. "I'm sure when I'm out there and around the team, it will feel a lot more real. Obviously I'm really excited to be out there with them. It's a really exciting time of the year, especially for Calgary right now. I can't wait."
Oilers team scope: Edmonton will try to respond after an 8-2 loss to the Los Angeles Kings on Thursday. "I have no words to describe it," Oilers forward Jordan Eberle said. "It's just embarrassing. We are professional hockey players, so when you go out and give that effort, it's embarrassing. They treated us like a junior hockey team, but because you're a professional hockey player you have to be able to play through whatever it is or else there will be guys who will take your spot." After winning three straight games, Edmonton ended a three-game road trip with losses to the Anaheim Ducks, 5-1 on Wednesday, and to the Kings. The Oilers, 5-3-2 in their past 10 games, are last in the Pacific Division and 28th in the NHL standings. Edmonton recalled defenseman David Musil on an emergency basis from the Oklahoma City Barons of the American Hockey League on Friday. This starts a three-game homestand, the Oilers' final one this season.