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Oilers meet Flames on Hockey Day

by Staff Writer / Edmonton Oilers
After a 4-2 loss to Minnesota at Rexall Place on Friday, the Edmonton Oilers travel 300km to the south and visit the Calgary Flames this evening. The game is the third of a Hockey Day in Canada tripleheader.

The Oilers' loss last night came on the heels of a successful three-game road trip that saw the team go 2-0-1. Desepite their recent success, Edmonton still sits three points behind Vancouver and Minnesota for the last playoff spot in the Western Conference.

Calgary looked to be in trouble last week when Jarome Iginla went down with a knee injury but instead they rallied and have won three straight since their captain went out.

As a result, the Flames now sit in sole possession of top spot in the Northwest Division at 50 points.

OILERS TO WATCH: The line of Petr Sykora, Petr Nedved and Ales Hemsky is starting to gel. Sykora had plenty of great chances last night against Minnesota and did score one with Nedved assisting... Tom Gilbert may draw back into the lineup with Ladislav Smid still nursing a sore shoulder despite playing last night. Gilbert acquitted himself well in his NHL debut Wednesday in San Jose going +1 in 13:23 of ice and seeing some power play time.

FLAMES TO WATCH: In the absence of Iginla, some unlikely players have stepped up their game. Byron Ritchie has scored four goals in his last four games while rookies David Moss and Dustin Boyd each have a goal over the recent three-game stretch... Rookie defenceman Mark Giordano may have won himself a spot in the Flames' starting lineup. In his last eight games, he has scored two goals and added five assists for seven points. He's also seen time on the Flames' top power play unit... Edmonton native Daymond Langkow is enjoying the best season of his career. In his last eight games, he has six goals and six assists for 12 points. Overall, he's on pace for 90 points which would shatter his career high of 62 set in 2001-02 with Phoenix.

ROSTER UPDATES: Edmonton - Daniel Tjarnqvist (groin) is out. Ethan Moreau (shoulder) is out. Ladislav Smid (shoulder) is questionable. Steve Staios (flu/knee) is questionable. Calgary - Jarome Iginla (knee) is out. Chuck Kobasew (concussion) is doubtful. Darren McCarty (hip) is doubtful. Richie Regehr (concussion) is doubtful.

FAST FACTS: Calgary is second in the league in shorthanded goals with 11. Matthew Lombardi leads the way on the club with four and Kristian Huselius has a pair... The Oilers trail the all-time series with Calgary at 76-78-19-1 with a record of 30-48-9-0 in Calgary.
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