"All of your fans will turn on you; those who once purchased your jerseys will cry out and complain; those who have been eating from the hand of Sutter will turn around and betray him sneakily but he will not perceive it. In that day," declares Yahweh, "I will laugh at the downfall of Calgary's upper management, the men who once sat high and mighty in the pressbox will be brought low."
"Your so-called warriors, O Calgary, are playing scared. Game after game they have been chopped down like saplings by their opponents. You ask yourself, 'Why is this happening?' It is because of your violence against your neighbour, Edmonton. For this reason you will be covered in shame. For this reason you will be destroyed forever. Every day that goes by in this putrid season you point and laugh as other teams carry off points from Edmonton. Foreign cities march into Alberta and lay a beating on Edmonton and you do nothing but mock. You should not look down on your neighbour in the day of his misfortune, nor rejoice over the Oilers in the year of their destruction, nor point and laugh in their day of trouble. You should not march into Edmonton, through the gates of my chosen people, and take advantage of them like everybody else, looking down on them, pitying them in the day of their calamity, taking points in the standings and physical liberties with their stars. You should not lick your lips when you see Edmonton on the schedule acting like those playing in Copper and Blue are worthy of no respect."
"The great day of Yahweh comes. Just as you have mocked, so also you will be mocked. Your deeds will leave you in ninth place while the Oilers select in the top five. Suddenly, your mockery will have come crashing down upon you."
Calgary Flames (37-28-11) @ Edmonton Oilers (23-41-10)
Rexall Place, 8:00 p.m. MDT
More analysis after the jump...
Visiting Team Scouting Report:
The Flames had a wonderful mid-season run, but they've faded badly over their last seven games, going 1-4-2 over that span (and 4-4-2 in their last ten to save you from looking up why I chose seven games). The only win out of those seven came against the Avalanche with losses coming to the Ducks, Kings, and Coyotes, three of the teams that the Flames are trying to catch. They're not mathematically out of it yet, and considering the underlying numbers for the Ducks and Stars along with the recent long-term injuries to Anze Kopitar and Justin Williams for the Kings, there's a reasonable chance that one of those teams will be worse than a standings point per game from here to the end of the year. The Flames also have a pretty soft schedule with games against the Avalanche, Blues, Ducks, and Oilers (x2), as well as one potentially tough one against the Canucks to close out the year (although they'll have locked up the Presidents' Trophy by then). The Flames can make it. They just need to win. Starting now.
Edmonton Oilers (23-41-10):
Eberle - VandeVelde - Hartikainen
Paajarvi - Cogliano - Omark
Jones - O'Marra - Reddox
Jacques - Fraser - MacIntyre
Peckham - Gilbert
Vandermeer - Petry
Smid - Foster
Calgary Flames (37-28-11)
Glencross - Backlund - Iginla
Tanguay - Jokinen - Bourque
Jackman - Stajan - Kotalik
Bouma - Kostopoulos - Nemisz
Regehr - Bouwmeester
Giordano - Sarich
Babchuk - Staios
By the Numbers:
- In order to avoid setting a new record for regulation losses in a season (set last year), the Oilers will need to get t
- In Calgary's last game against the Sharks, Jay Bouwmeester played in his 500th consecutive game, something that no defenseman has ever done in NHL history. Tonight, he'll stretch that streak to 501 against the Oilers, but when it ends, Tom Gilbert will have a target to shoot for - Gilbert has now played 328 straight, and will extend his own streak to 329 tonight.
- Four players in tonight's game have played for both Alberta teams: Jim Vandermeer, Curtis Glencross, Steve Staios, and Ales Kotalik. If we add them all together, that makes 702 career games played with the Oilers and 403 career games played with the Flames.
- If the Flames win their last six games, they'll end the season with 97 points. If everyone else in the Conference earns just 50% of their points, the team in 8th, Anaheim, will have 95. In other words, the Flames can't afford to lose.
- Since the trade deadline, the Oilers have played eleven games, and in those eleven games they've scored 17 goals and have allowed 32 for an average score of 2.9 to 1.5 and a goal differential of -1.4 per game. Over a full season, that would equate to a goal differential of -115. The last team to do worse than that in an entire year was the 1999-00 Atlanta Thrashers who finished the year with 39 points and a goal differential of -143. The post-deadline Oilers might be a very good case study for what constitutes replacement level in the post-lockout NHL.