Calgary Flames @ Edmonton Oilers, 7 PM MT, Rogers Place, Edmonton AB
TV: ESPN+, SNW - Radio: Sportsnet 960
Calgary Flames 19-15-5 (43 pts) - Edmonton Oilers 20-16-4 (44 pts)
The Flames are back from the holiday break and they’ll try to get back in the win column with a trip to Edmonton to take on the Oilers Friday night. Calgary has lost four of their last five, including a 3-0 shut out at the hands of the Minnesota Wild back on Monday. It’s been tough sledding for the Flames lately as they’ve only scored nine goals in their last five games with five of those coming in a 5-1 win over Dallas.
Despite the lack of victories that have been coming the Flames way, Calgary is still within striking distance of first place in the Pacific. The Flames are only three points behind front running Arizona who are an even 5-5-0 in their last 10. So with all the bad that has happened since the seven game winning streak was snapped Calgary is still in a decent spot in the division.
Another reason the Flames are so close is Edmonton has been having a tough go of it lately as well. The Oilers are 3-6-1 in their last 10 and they’ve dropped 7 out of their last nine. Scoring hasn’t necessarily been an issue for Edmonton as they have 115 on the season, but keeping the puck out of the net has been a struggle. Edmonton has allowed 123 goals, which is good for 5th worst in the league. Old friend Mike Smith hasn’t found the fountain of youth in Edmonton as he’s given up 54 goals on 506 shots in his 19 games played.
Who is having a successful season, shocker, is Connor McDavid. The Oilers are just about at the midway point of the season and the captain has 62 points already. Combine that with Leon Draisiatl’s 61 points and the pair have 43 of Edmonton’s 115 goals. That tells you two things: 1) they both have phenomenal offensive talent 2) the Oilers don’t have much else. After McDavid’s 62 points and Leon Draisaitl’s 61 the stats fall off the table. The next highest scoring Oilers player is Zack Kassian with 26. That’s not good. It’s doubtful that the Oilers top two scorers can keep that pace up and if they start to falter, who’s going to carry the load for Edmonton?
Oddly enough this is the first time the Flames and Oilers will meet in the regular season. The fact that it took this long for these two bitter rivals to meet means the second half of the season is going to contain games with big time playoff implications. Starting this rivalry for the season in Edmonton isn’t in Calgary’s best interest. The Flames have dropped six of the last 10 games when traveling to visit the Oilers, but they do lead the all time series with a record of 132-121-19.
Starting Goalies (E=Expected, C=Confirmed)
Flames: Rittich (E)- 16-8-5, 2.71 GAA, .915 Save%
Oilers: Smith (E)- 7-9-2, 3.14 GAA, .893 Save%
Flames: Goals: Lindholm (15) Points: Tkachuk (32) PIM: Lucic (34) Save%: Rittich (.915)
Oilers: Goals: Draisaitl (22) Points: McDavid (62) PIM: Kassian (48) Save%: Koskinen (.917)
What’s Happening With The Opposition?
Edmonton Oilers Coverage: Copper and Blue
Last Time Out
Calgary Flames 0 - Minnesota Wild 3
Edmonton Oilers 2 - Vancouver 4
Players To Watch
Elias Lindholm (C): 5 points in last 3 games
Zack Kassian (F): 4 points in last 5 games