Remember the days when the Battle of Alberta actually mattered? Given the state of the Flames, I'm not sure I do either. Still, it's a rivalry that has some spark for whatever reason, be it the presence of former
Oiler Steve Staios on the Flames, or the presence of former Flame Jim Vandermeer.
Screw it. You know what? There is no venom to this game. We might see an obligatory Jackman-Eager fight, but after three periods you'll have a team with no defense playing a team with no offense for a position between third and fifth in the division. And I'll be sitting in my underwear.
The Oilers have been a lot better than expected this year with first overall pick Ryan Nugent-Hopkins leading the team in scoring with 28 points in 27 games. The real unsung hero for the Oilers, however, has been Shawn Horcoff.
The line combination of Smyth-Horcoff-Jones has been pulling the weight for the team while RNH, Eberle, and Hall get the Sedin-esque zone starts. With Horcoff sporting a 41% ozone ratio, Smyth a 44.7%, and Jones an incredibly low 38.3%, that second line has been utterly terrific.
On the Calgary side, Jarome Iginla seemed to finally wake up against Columbus, but he's been inconsistent at best this year. Giordano's out, well, indefinitely, so the defense will likely see too much time from Mr. Cory "Get Me the Hell Outta Here" Sarich.
Miikka Kiprusoff gets the start in net tonight. Thrilling and novel news, I know. Lines and defensive pairings are as follows.
Glencross- Jokinen- Iginla
Tanguay- Horak- Bourque
Comeau- Backlund- Ranchhand Ninja
Kostopoulos- Stajan- Jackman