It has been just over two weeks since the Flames blew a 2-0 lead and lost 4-2 to the Oilers at home and what was regarded by many (or maybe just me) as the low point in a thus far forgettable season for Calgary.
Tonight, they make the trip up Highway 2 looking to recover from last night's loss to the Colorado Avalanche in which they allowed three goals in a four-minute span in the late second and early third periods. To add insult to injury (or vice versa), the Flames are battling the dreaded flu bug, which has allegedly left several players including Joe Colborne feeling less than 100%, which is why we saw Derek Smith playing centre on the fourth line last night.
Anyway, this will likely be a tough outing for what will be a tired team battling sickness, and the Oilers will no doubt be looking to take advantage of that early and often, eager to build off of Thursday night's 8-2 win over the Avs.
After his giveaway behind the net that lead to the first Avs goal in last night's game, Karri Ramo will take a seat tonight as Reto Berra will get the start on the second night of back-to-back games. I have no problem with Hartley splitting games between both goalies in a back-to-back situation like this, but I just hope this isn't the start of another stretch where we don't see Ramo for a month. He was a huge factor in the Flames' wins over the Kings and Coyotes, and apart from his gaffe last night he kept the Flames in the game when the Avs had them hemmed in their own zone for much of the second period.
The Oilers, on the other hand, are actually 6-4-0 in their past 10 games, but just 4-9-0 at Rexall Place this season. With a regulation win tonight, they could tie the Flames for 14th (!) in the West, however Calgary will still have two games in hand.
Taylor Hall had three goals and an assist in Edmonton's 8-2 drubbing of the Avalanche, including two goals on the powerplay, while Jordan Eberle and Ales Hemsky both had a goal and an assist and Ryan Smyth had three assists.
Devan Dubnyk, who will likely start again tonight, made 33 saves for the victory.
Projected Lines and Pairings:
Oilers (via C&B):
N. Schultz-J. Schultz
After missing yesterday's game with the flu, Joe Colborne has made the trip to Edmonton with the team, as per the Flames' web team, so Derek Smith's services at forward may not be needed again tonight as Brian McGrattan remains out with the infamous "lower body" injury. Ladislav Smid returns to Edmonton to play his first game at Rexall since being traded and blah, blah blah.