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Oilers @ Flames Game 50 Preview

Winners of three of their last four, can the OIlers knock the Flames down a peg?

Candice Ward-USA TODAY Sports

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13-27-9, 35 points, .714 p/g Ranks 26-20-3, 55 points, 1.122 p/g
Western Conference - 14th Western Conference - 8th
29th P/G 18th
25th ST 28th
28th ES 14th
27th Goal 15th
8 PM - CBC
Scotiabank Saddledome
The opposing view:  Matchsticks and Gasoline

Don't breathe too hard, but the Oilers are winners of three in their last four.  Edmonton's latest victory comes over a Sabres team that's been designed to fail.  Edmonton handed Buffalo their thirteenth consecutive regulation loss in a contest that saw Buffalo register just twenty shots on goal.  Anton Lander had a hand in all three Oiler goals (1-2-3), including the eventual game winner.  A great game for the fourth line overall.  They did it without Taylor Hall, and if the Oilers want to entertain thoughts of winning tonight, they'll likely need to do it without him tonight.

The Oilers are saying

"He feels very comfortable.  More comfortable.  When he looks behind and sees me, I think that helps.  But he's just improved with his game.  He's getting some opportunity on the power play, on the penalty kill.  He's feeling very comfortable and confident.  Now he's getting a great opportunity here.  Tonight I thought he was outstanding".

That's Oilers interim head coach Todd Nelson on Anton Lander's three point effort against the Sabres.

Lander's been playing well for quite a bit of time now, and he was rewarded with a three point night on Thursday against Buffalo.  Granted, this year's Sabres are equivalent to a poor man's beer league outfit, but it's good to see Lander get his name in lights on three separate goals.  How much does Todd Nelson being behind the bench help Anton Lander?  It surely can't hurt any.

The Opponent is saying

No magic potion or anything, we just have to be hard working and maybe simplify things and try to take some pressure of (Hiller) because he's been the guy that's showing up right from the start of the game and we've got to change that"
That's Flames forward Joe Colborne on how the Flames need to take some pressure off of goaltender Jonas Hiller. Hiller has turned aside 48 of 50 shots in his past two games.

Jonas Hiller has been a pleasant addition to this year's Calgary Flames.  He's got a .914 SV% to show for it.  That's a lot better than I think most would think any Flames goaltender would be sporting at this point of the season.  Flames are only allowing 28 shots per game, which puts them in the top ten in fewest shots against.  They're also sitting eighth in the West, which (as much as I hate to say it) is a pretty enviable place to be.

Have some of this
  • UPDATE ON NIKITIN - Jack Michaels tweeted that Nikita Nikitin will be out 4-6 weeks after sustaining a shoulder injury in Thursday's game versus Buffalo.  Keith Aulie will replace him in the lineup.  Taylor Hall is travelling with the team, but will not dress tonight.
  • WHAT DO YOU DO? Nikita Nikitin hasn't been a very good player this year for the Oilers.  Now, I think he's a better player than Keith Aulie and half the farm, but that's not saying a whole lot.  Now that he's out for 4-6 weeks, do you call up Brandon Davidson?  Brad Hunt?  Someone else?  Or, do you send Jeff Petry to Detroit for a second round pick and go head first into the McDavid Sweeps?
  • Ben Scrivens (9-16-7 .895 SV% / 3.01) will start his second consecutive game for the Oilers.  Jonas Hiller (14-14-2, .914 / 2.37) will get the nod for Calgary.
  • Derek wants more new wave videos in the game preview.  Who am I to argue?
  • SMALL VICTORIES - We're 50 games into this year, and it's going to be another non-playoff year. The Oilers have won three of their last four.  Beat Calgary, it's feels good.  Not only would it be four wins in the last five, it'd also be against those stupid Flames.  Score early and score often.