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The Flames Better Come To Play Or This Will Be A Disaster

The Oilers are scoring and playing well and Calgary could be a sitting duck tonight.

NHL: FEB 06 Oilers at Flames Photo by Brett Holmes/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Calgary Flames vs Edmonton Oilers, 7 PM MT, Scotiabank Saddledome, Calgary AB

TV: ESPN+, TVAS, SN1, SNE, SNO, SNW - Radio: Sportsnet 960

Calgary Flames (8-7-1, 17 pts) - Edmonton Oilers (10-8-0, 20 pts)

NHL Standings

I’ll be honest, I don’t like this matchup at all tonight. Calgary was just dismantled by Vancouver. They’re starting David Rittich because they’ve run Jacob Markstrom into the ground (and he’s been amazing). Matthew Tkachuk looks like he’s checked out. Johnny Gaudreau is playing by himself when he’s out there. Mark Giordano looks like he’s a year past when he should have retired. Geoff Ward is in over his head and can’t not mix the lines up after two shifts. And these are just a few reasons why confidence should be low coming into this game. People, the Flames are a mess and there isn’t an easy fix to many, if not all of their problems. Coaching. Morale. Heart. Drive. Leadership. Don’t get me wrong, there are some good things happening with the Flames, but as of now, the bad FAR outweighs the good.

And if the Oilers are smart they would take note of all of that and pounce on the Flames early. Calgary, to put it bluntly, SUCKS in the first period. They have only left the first period with a lead five times this season and that trend continued against Vancouver where they were down 1-0 and never were able to get close to the Canucks. Edmonton is the second highest scoring team in the league (63 GF). Their PP is operating at 24.6%. They average 31.5 shots per game. They have the top two point producers in the NHL: Connor McDavid (32) & Leon Draisaitl (28). The Oilers have won seven of their last nine, averaging 4 goals per game, including 17 first period goals over that span (3 of those in a 6-4 loss to the Flames).

Edmonton isn’t some world beater team. They can be taken down as the Flames showed earlier this season, but is this Calgary team that is crumbling right now capable of slowing down the McDavid/Draisaitl show? Those two have 11 points combined in their last five games and three points total in the first meeting between Calgary and Edmonton.

The Battle Of Alberta is always interesting and no doubt these next nine games will be as well. But if the Flames come out of the gate like they have for almost every game this season, McDavid & Co. will blow the doors off this Flames team and it will be time to take a real, long look in the mirror at what’s not working in Calgary.

Starting Goalies (E=Expected, C=Confirmed)

Flames: Rittich (E): 0-2-0, 3.23 GAA, .868 SV%

Oilers: Koskinen (E): 6-8-0, 3.43 GAA, .894 SV%

Team Leaders

Flames: Goals- Gaudreau (9), Points- Gaudreau (16), PIM- Tkachuk (15), Save%- Markstrom (.917)

Oilers: Goals- McDavid (10), Points- Draisaitl (32), PIM: Nurse (32). Save%- Smith (.937)

What’s Happening With The Opposition?

Edmonton Oilers Coverage: Copper & Blue

Last Time Out

Calgary Flames 1 - Vancouver Canucks 5

Edmonton Oilers 3 - Winnipeg Jets 2

Players To Watch

Calgary Flames

Calgary Flames v Vancouver Canucks Photo by Rich Lam/Getty Images

Juuso Valimaki (D): 3 points in last 5 games

Edmonton Oilers

Winnipeg Jets v Edmonton Oilers Photo by Andy Devlin/NHLI via Getty Images

Darnell Nurse (D): 3 points in last 5 games