Calgary Flames vs Edmonton Oilers, 8 PM MT, Scotiabank Saddledome, Calgary AB
TV: NHLN, CBC, TVAS, SN - Radio: Sportsnet 960
Calgary Flames (4-5-1, 9 pts) - Edmonton Oilers (6-6-0, 12 pts)
Get ready because this game is going to be a completely different animal than what you’ve seen so far this season. The Flames and Oilers will lock horns for the first of ten meetings tonight in Calgary and the teams could not be any different from each other. The Flames have dropped five of their last seven, including two in a row and their goal scoring has dried up. The last time Calgary scored more than three goals in a game was back on January 18th in a 5-2 victory over the Vancouver Canucks and their PP has taken a nose dive as well. After coming out the gate hot, the Flames man up units were shutdown hardcore by the Winnipeg Jets during their three game series, going 0-10 with the man advantage. Despite that lackluster showing, Calgary is still 12th overall in the league in PP%, but you can attribute that to their early season performance padding that figure. And while the even strength goal scoring has picked up, Calgary is still struggling to put the puck in the net. The Flames are 25th overall in the NHL in GF with a measly 26, which puts them one goal scored behind the lowly Ottawa Senators. Yes folks, your Calgary Flames are last in the North Division in scoring.
You know who’s not? Edmonton. The Oilers started slow out of the gate and have come roaring back to life lately. Edmonton will look to win it’s fourth straight on Saturday night and they’ve been doing it in convincing fashion.....even if two of those wins were against the Sens. The Oilers have scored 23 goals in their last five games. The Flames only have 26 on the entire season. The fuel the drives the engine has been all world star Connor McDavid. He has 14 points in his last five games and he leads the league in points with 24. Not surprisingly his partner in crime, Leon Draisaitl, is right behind him. Draisaitl has 22 points on the season and has 13 points in his last 5 games. So the Flames certainly have their work cut out for them tonight stopping those two, but as the case has been over the last two seasons, if you can stop McDavid and Draisaitl, you can stop the Oilers. After their 24 & 22 points, the next best Oilers skater is Ryan Nugent-Hopkins with 10 points. It’s a steep drop off from their two best players and when they struggled at the beginning so did Edmonton.
Where you can get to the Oilers is in their own net, as Edmonton can score a ton, but they LOVE giving up goals. The Oilers goaltenders have surrendered the third most goals this season (42) and as a team they give up an average of 32.5 shots per game (7th overall). Mikko Koskinen has played all but one game this season and isn’t exactly lighting the world on fire. In his last six starts Koskinen has given up 20 goals, but because of Edmonton’s high powered offence, he’s only lost twice in that time frame.
These two rivals had some very heated games last season due to the antics of Matthew Tkachuk and Zack Kassian. There were fights, tons of penalties, a stick flip and the Flames took three out of the four matchups in 2020. So there is momentum to build on, but in reality Calgary needs to start playing full games. The Flames always seem to take a period off for some reason and either find themselves in a hole or giving up a lead. They cannot do that tonight or Edmonton will absolutely blow their doors off and this will get ugly quickly.
In the end there is really only one thing that is important about tonight’s contest and that is.......BLASTY IS BACK! Calgary will wear their Reverse Retro jerseys tonight for the first time since retiring the greatest jersey in hockey history back in 2006. All praise Blasty!!!!
Starting Goalies (E=Expected, C=Confirmed)
Flames: Markstrom (E): 4-3-1, 2.37 GAA, .920 SV%
Oilers: Koskinen (E): 5-6-0, 3.31 GAA, .897 SV%
Flames: Goals- Gaudreau (6), Points- Gaudreau (11), PIM- Lucic (10), Save%- Markstrom (.920)
Oilers: Goals- McDavid (8), Points- McDavid (24), PIM: Nurse (12). Save%- Koskinen (.897)
What’s Happening With The Opposition?
Edmonton Oilers Coverage: Copper & Blue
In the latter half of the 2018/19 season, Mikko Koskinen played 14 games in a month and things looked great. And then suddenly they looked the exact opposite. This should be a warning for the #Oilers. https://t.co/Nufd956L2m— Copper & Blue (@CopperandBlue) February 5, 2021
Last Time Out
Calgary Flames 1 - Winnipeg Jets 4
Edmonton Oilers 4 - Ottawa Senators 2
Players To Watch
Andrew Mangiapane (F): 2 goals in last three games
Ryan Nugent-Hopkins (C): 4 points in last 5 games