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MORNING SKATE REPORT: Oilers vs. Flames

The Oilers play the first of back-to-back games this weekend at Rogers Place in a key divisional battle

by Tony Brar and Marc Ciampa / EdmontonOilers.com

The Oilers host the Calgary Flames in the first of back-to-back games this weekend at Rogers Place. 

You can watch the game on Sportsnet or CBC and listen on the Oilers Radio Network, including 630 CHED. 

Read the game preview below and check back for regular updates, including line combinations, videos, our Morning Skate Report and more.

Video: OILERS TODAY | Pre-Game vs CGY 01.19.19

 

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FEATURE: Alberta animosity

"There's more than a handful of guys that we dislike over there, and I'm pretty sure they say the same thing about our guys," Milan Lucic said.

by Jamie Umbach / EdmontonOilers.com

EDMONTON, AB ­­- With the spoils shared at the midway point in this season's Battle of Alberta, the scouting report is out on both the Oilers and Calgary Flames.

Tensions are reaching critical levels.

The Flames used a third-period surge to sink the Oilers in their first duel of the season at the Scotiabank Saddledome back in November before the Blue and Orange earned revenge in a 1-0 blanking at Rogers Place on December 7.

The results may be set in stone, but animosities linger ahead of Saturday's tilt between the Alberta adversaries.

"We can't play their game and they can't play our game," Oilers Head Coach Ken Hitchcock, citing the season split, said Friday. "If we play our game we're going to win, and if we play their game they're going to win. We have a certain way we play and it's very effective - we showed that in the 1-0 game - and they showed their flair in the game they beat us in Calgary."

Video: RAW | Ken Hitchcock 01.18.19

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BLOG: Playoff push starts now

"This is what you want as a hockey player; you want to be in the chase… the playoff push has to start now," said Oilers Captain Connor McDavid

by Paul Gazzola / EdmontonOilers.com

EDMONTON, AB - Oilers Captain Connor McDavid confirmed: The push for playoffs begins now.

And the Oilers are right in the thick of things, sitting tied with the Minnesota Wild and Anaheim Ducks for the final Western Conference wild card, one point removed from the first wild card spot, which is currently employed by the Dallas Stars who have 50 points. 

"This is what you want as a hockey player; you want to be in the chase," McDavid, who is fourth in League scoring with 70 points, said on Friday. "It's still early, obviously, but we're in the position where the playoff push has to start now. There's a bunch of teams there and someone has to run away. 

"It starts now."

Video: RAW | Connor McDavid 01.18.19

The Oilers are fortunate to have a game in hand on Dallas, Anaheim and Vancouver. The club has three big tests upcoming before the NHL All-Star break.

"We're excited as players and hopefully the fans are excited," McDavid added. "Ultimately, we got to be playing the way we can."

Oilers Head Coach Ken Hitchcock said there's a subtle enthusiasm within the Oilers Dressing Room, as the club has gained traction the past few outings. Edmonton is on a two-game winning streak after routing the Buffalo Sabres 7-2 then irking out a 3-2 shootout win over the Canucks on Wednesday.

"I think we just got a higher level of, I don't want to call it excitement, but enthusiasm because we see light at the end of the tunnel," Hitchcock started. 

"There's a lot of enthusiasm around the team right now because we feel like we're starting to play really well. We know this is going to be a big test; these three teams have quickness and are built differently than we are. But there's a lot of confidence in our game now."

Video: RAW | Ken Hitchcock 01.18.19

Hitchcock has seen his share of playoff hockey in the city of Edmonton, although not for the club he's currently coaching. As head coach of the Stars, Hitchcock became accustomed to facing the Oilers and their loyal fan base.

"I said this when I came here: You don't play the Edmonton Oilers. You play the whole city… I mean that sincerely," Hitchcock said. "I stood on the bench for a number of years and you had to either pat guys on the shoulder or you had to kick them that their line was up because you couldn't talk to them. It was too loud.

"I'm hoping people are beginning to see that we've got some wind in our sail right now and we want to keep playing well. We know this is going to be hard but I think people are starting to understand and appreciate the way we're playing, and we're putting everything we can into it."

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TALKING POINTS: Hitchcock talks team enthusiasm, young wingers and more

Read the full transcript from Oilers Head Coach Ken Hitchcock's Friday media availability

by Staff / EdmontonOilers.com

Q: There's the potential here for a playoff environment. Do you sense your team has a higher level of excitement and lower level of squeezing their sticks going into this next game (against Calgary)?

A: I think we just got a higher level of, I don't want to call it excitement, but enthusiasm because we see light at the end of the tunnel. We see we're in a race. We're going to be in a race when we come back. We're playing, the last two games, we've really started to make inroads. Players look and see Klefbom skating early this morning, so there's excitement level (there). They're coming into the rink and he's just coming off the ice from an hour-long skate. There's a lot of enthusiasm around the team right now because we feel like we're starting to play really well. We know this is going to be a big test; these three teams have quickness and are built differently than we are. But there's a lot of confidence in our game now.

Video: RAW | Ken Hitchcock 01.18.19

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Oilers to host Hockey Talks night in support of mental health awareness

Oilers Foundation working with local charities to champion mental health initiatives

by Press Release / OilersFoundation.ca

(Edmonton, AB) - The Edmonton Oilers and Edmonton Oilers Community Foundation (EOCF) are proudly supporting Hockey Talks for the seventh consecutive season by designating the game on January 20 vs. the Carolina Hurricanes as their Hockey Talks night. Hockey Talks is an initiative that brings awareness and encourages a conversation about mental health.  

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BLOG: News, videos from Friday's practice

The Oilers practiced at the Downtown Community Arena before back-to-back home games against the Calgary Flames and Carolina Hurricanes this weekend

by Jamie Umbach / EdmontonOilers.com

EDMONTON, AB - The Oilers practiced at the Downtown Community Arena on Friday ahead of hosting the Calgary Flames and Carolina Hurricanes for back-to-back games this weekend, beginning Saturday with the Battle of Alberta.

Video: PRACTICE | Wind in their Sails

Lines at Friday's practice appeared as follows:

Forwards

Draisaitl - McDavid - Chiasson

Khaira - Nugent-Hopkins - Yamamoto

Rieder - Brodziak - Puljujarvi

Kassian - Cave - Lucic

Defence

Nurse - Russell

Jones - Larsson

Manning - Benning

Goalies

Talbot

Koskinen

Spooner, Rattie, Gravel and Petrovic were the extra skaters.

Stay tuned for content throughout the day.

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THROWBACK THURSDAY: Semenko punches above his weight

EdmontonOilers.com examines the time the late Dave Semenko traded his hockey gloves for boxing gloves for three rounds in the ring against Muhammad Ali in June of 1983.

by Jamie Umbach / EdmontonOilers.com

During the Oilers 40th Anniversary Season, EdmontonOilers.com is looking back at the history of the franchise weekly with Throwback Thursdays.

EDMONTON, AB - Dave Semenko played the role of enforcer for the Oilers for parts of 10 seasons from 1977-87, tasked regularly with the protection of 'The Great One' on the ice.

But a bout with 'The Greatest' would be one of the hardest assignments of his career.

On June 12, 1983, Semenko traded his hockey gloves for boxing gloves for a three-round exhibition with former world heavyweight champion Muhammad Ali in front of an Edmonton crowd of 6,000 strong at the Northlands Coliseum.

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GENE'S BLOG: Takin' Khaira Business

In his latest blog, Gene Principe writes about Jujhar Khaira's solid performance against the Canucks in front of family and friends

by Gene Principe / EdmontonOilers.com

EDMONTON, AB - It never hurts to come home and score and win. Jujhar Khaira did all of the above on Tuesday night. What a night it was for the Edmonton Oiler and for his team. The cherry on top would have been Khaira providing the winner in the shootout but that won't stand in the way of a joyous return to Vancouver for the west coast winger. There were fans in the stands who were cheering the Oilers and some specifically who were there to see and support, as Kevin Quinn said on Sportsnet during the game, "a local boy making good." He's serious and stern in his look but the sly smile on the outside would have been even bigger on the inside. 

Video: EDM@VAN: Khaira spins and pots slick shorthanded goal

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GAME STORY: Oilers 3, Canucks 2 (SO)

Chiasson nets shootout winner in fifth round as the Oilers defeat the Canucks 3-2

by Paul Gazzola / EdmontonOilers.com

VANCOUVER, BC - It's mid-January and the National Hockey League playoff standings are tight.

Now, so are the games.

The Oilers and Canucks played a close affair on Wednesday, with Alex Chiasson's wrister in the fifth round of the shootout giving his club two points and the win at Rogers Arena.

Jujhar Khaira and Connor McDavid both scored in regulation, while Mikko Koskinen made 20 saves to help improve the Oilers to 23-21-3 on the season and gain a point on the Canucks in the playoff race.

With 49 points, Edmonton sits outside the final Western Conference wild card position behind the Minnesota Wild, who have a game in hand on the Oilers.

Video: OILERS TODAY | Post-Game at VAN 01.16.19

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LIVE BLOG: Oilers at Canucks

Get regular updates, highlights and more as the Oilers visit the Vancouver Canucks at Rogers Arena

by Paul Gazzola / EdmontonOilers.com

The Oilers take on the Canucks tonight at Rogers Arena.

You can watch on TV on Sportsnet West & Pacific or listen on 630 CHED and the Oilers Radio Network.

Read below for updates, highlights, tweets, commentary and more in our live in-game blog.

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