The Albrutal Cup.
The Battle of AHLberta.
Call it what you will, the Flames and Oilers, who take up residence in 13th and 14th place in the Western Conference respectively, will meet for the first time this season following a rare trade between the two clubs last Friday that saw defenceman Ladislav Smid and goalie prospect Olivier Roy pack their bags and head south in exchange for Roman Horak and Laurent Brossoit.
The Flames are winless in five games, and so are the Oilers. Before last night's contest against the San Jose Sharks, Edmonton had been shut out in three consecutive home games. The one responsible for snapping that streak was the much maligned Nail Yakupov, who has been the subject of endless speculation since his agent Igor Larionov paid a visit to Edmonton, unhappy with how his young client was being utilized by the Oilers' coaching staff.
Despite allowing seven goals in Thursday night's game against the Stars, the Flames managed to break their own embarrassing streak of totaling only 13 shots on goal in Tuesday's overtime loss to the Sharks.
Both teams have their own demons to defeat tonight, but even with a loss the Flames will still remain three points up on Edmonton with two games in hand, so that's something I guess. I've got nothing.
After a five-game losing streak, the Flames coaching staff finally decided its team was in need of a shake-up. The projected lines for tonight's contest reflect that, as Sven Baertschi gets a promotion to the second line alongside Matt Stajan after the two were largely the team's best forwards in Thursday's loss. Baertschi played almost 20 minutes despite being nailed with a four-minute high sticking major, and should see similar ice time tonight if he remains in the top six. Joe Colborne will centre Lance Bouma and Brian McGrattan on a fourth line that makes much more sense than saddling Mikael Backlund with TIm Jackman and McGrattan, or seeing Sven out there on a 2-on-1 with him.
Here are the rest of the projected lines and pairings for both teams: