As if the Oilers being all but eliminated from playoff contention in mid November wasn't bad enough, this season fans in Edmonton also had to put up with a Flames team that just wouldn't stop winning. That those wins were percentage driven - first goaltending and then shooting - helps take the sting out of a bit, but when you looked at the standings and saw Alberta's two teams at opposite ends it just sucks. Thankfully, the Flames luck seems to have run out of late, and with just one win in their last nine (it's no one in 20 though) games they've slid down the standing and are currently sitting outside of a playoff spot. The Flames playing badly doesn't make the Oilers any better, but it's something that I will always enjoy.
How To Tune In
This epic tilt will be broadcast coast to coast on CBC's Hockey Night in Canada starting at 8PM.
What To Watch For From The Oilers
Even by the very low bar against which the Oilers are measured, the team's performance in their last game before the Christmas break - a 5-1 loss to the Coyotes - was bad. Ben Scrivens let in a terrible goal before most fans even got comfortable in their seats, and then let another, this one not his fault, just over three minutes later. And just like that, the game was more or less over and the team's play reflected that. Against a Flames team described by many as hard working, the Oilers' effort will undoubtedly be discussed at length tonight. With effort and heart being the go to topic today, you should probably also expect Luke Gazdic and Steve Pinizzotto to dress to night. Consider it a late Christmas present from the Oilers.
What To Watch For From The Flames
At Flames Nation, Kent Wilson explains that there is a lot more to this season for the Flames than just wins and losses, and more than a couple things to be excited about. I hate that he's right.
It's not wrong to cheer for wins and hope the Flames somehow make the post-season this year, but let's face it - this is still an organization that has a lot of work to do before they're a legitimate contender. The good news is the club has a lot of arrows pointing in the right direction and are apparently well ahead of where they would seemed to be at the onset of this project.
The cupboards aren't empty anymore. There's established, pillar talent already on the roster. And there's real competition amongst future NHLers in the depths of the organization. For the first time in perhaps a decade, there's opportunity for the Flames to evolve and take real strides forward.
He's not wrong, but ...
.@JonathanWillis You know that team in the movie Moneyball didn't actually win the World Series, right?— Jason Lee Norman (@bellyofawhale) December 24, 2014