The Flames emerged from their California road trip in a significantly worse position than they were in prior to it after earning just two of a possible six points via overtime losses in Anaheim and Los Angeles, and will try to make up some ground tonight when they visit the Oilers.
This installment of the Battle of Alberta is a game between two teams with very little left to play for this season; the Oilers have been entrenched in the Conference basement since October and down the highway, their provincial rivals have all but played themselves out of contention in the past seven games. Amongst the top ten teams in the league, Calgary and Detroit have the worst records in their past ten games at 4-4-2; every other team vying for a playoff spot is at least .500 during that span, and to further drive the point home, they all have games in hand.
With both the Ducks and Stars playing tonight, the best spot the Flames could find themselves in following tonight's action is ninth in the West--and that's if they can hold it together long enough to get two points out of the league's worst team. There's no doubt the Oiler would love to be the team that puts the final dagger in their rivals' playoff hopes, and a Flames squad that looked thoroughly hopeless and downtrodden at times during this trip will have to find a way to inject some life into their depleted lineup and play like their season is on the line once again.
There are no expected changes to the lineup from Wednesday's loss, as Niklas Hagman will sit out again with concussion-like symptoms and Miikka Kiprusoff will start in net. Kiprusoff is 3-1-0 in four games against Edmonton this season, but has also allowed twelve goals in those games.
Enjoy the game everyone and revel in what could potentially be the last time the Flames actually look dominant this season in the comments. Go Flames.