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Game 1 - Calgary Flames @ Edmonton Oilers

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A new season has dawned.

Ten years of failure lie dormant at your feet.  No pressure, kid.
Ten years of failure lie dormant at your feet. No pressure, kid.
Perry Nelson-USA TODAY Sports


Calgary

@

Edmonton
0-0-0, 0 points, .0 p/g Ranks 0-0-0, 0 points, .0 p/g
Pacific Division, 1st Pacific Division - 1st
N/A P/G N/A
N/A ST N/A
N/A S/G N/A
N/A Goal N/A
8 PM MDT
TV - SN1, SN2, TVAS2
Radio - 630 CHED
Rogers Place
The opposing view:  Matchsticks And Gasoline

PROJECTED FORWARDS
Milan Lucic - Connor McDavid - Jordan Eberle
Benoit Pouliot - Ryan Nugent-Hopkins - Anton Slepyshev
Patrick Maroon - Leon Draisaitl - Jesse Puljujärvi
Tyler Pitlick - Mark Letestu - Zack Kassian

DEFENCE
Oscar Klefbom - Adam Larsson
Andrej Sekera - Kris Russell
Darnell Nurse - Brandon Davidson

GOAL
Cam Talbot
Jonas Gustavsson


IT IS TIME

It's been a hell of an offseason. What'd we miss?

For better or worse, General Manager Peter Chiarelli has made a handful of moves to try to shake up this team. Gone is 2015-16 team leading scorer Taylor Hall.  In return, the Oilers received defenceman Adam Larsson from New Jersey.  Larsson has impressed so far with Oscar Klefbom, they'll be depended on to play the big minutes night in and night out.

Chiarelli then signed Milan Lucic to a seven year deal.  He'll start the season on the top line with Connor McDavid and Jordan Eberle.  Edmonton is gonna need a tonne of action from that line.  Just last week, the Oilers traded Nail Yakupov to the St. Louis Blues.  They got this cool draft pick that could become a second rounder if Yakupov scores 15 or more goals with St. Louis this year.

The Oilers took a dip into the free agent pool a couple times.  After Lucic, they signed Jonas Gustavsson to backup Cam Talbot.  Late last week, Chiarelli signed Kris Russell shortly after dealing Yakupov.  No doubt the Oilers need help on the right side of the blue, will playing the left handed Russell on the right side help shore up the defence?

The Oilers have made several moves in order to help bring the team closer to a playoff berth.  After eight preseason games, they all count for real tonight.  Is this the year Edmonton breaks its ten year playoff drought?

The Oilers are saying

"We want to be the best team in Alberta and we want to be the best team in the League...It takes steps and I think over the past few years we've been working on those steps and I think Calgary has, too.  This is a game to really assert yourself and take pride in the Battle of Alberta."

Source

That's Oilers defenceman Brandon Davidson on how important winning tonight's game would be for Edmonton.

It's been 3,768 days since the Oilers were in the playoffs.  Winning tonight would be a great start for a team that could use a little push to start the season.

The opponents are saying

"It's a huge part for me, being close to home with my family.  Being on a team that's on the verge of winning, too...They're a young team with a lot of great young talent.  There's a lot of factors."   SoSource

That's new Flames winger Kris Versteeg on signing a deal with Calgary.

NEW FACES, NEW PLACES
Kris Versteeg looked to be all but a member of the Oilers last week.  On a PTO deal, Versteeg was offered a contract but chose to sign with Calgary yesterday.  By the looks of things, Calgary will be able to offer him more significant ice time than the Oilers would have, even though the Oilers traded Nail Yakupov for a non-roster player last week.

Have some of this

  • As that first line of Lucic-McDavid-Eberle goes, so goes this team.  The Oilers are going to need significant contributions from this line, as the club finished 25th overall in goals scored during 2015-16.
  • HOME COOKIN' - Oilers play nine of their first twelve games of the season at Rogers Place.  Winning about eight of those would go a long way to starting the season.
  • D NOTES: I didn't have Matthew Benning making the 23 man roster, the Oilers will go with eight defencemen to start the season.  Mark Fayne has been demoted to healthy scratch status to begin the season, and it looks like Darnell Nurse and Brandon Davidson will run wild as a pair.  Some questions loom about Kris Russell on the middle pair, especially on the right side.  It's a bold strategy, Cotton.
  • F NOTES: Tyler Pitlick will likely start on the fourth line tonight while Anton Slepyshev has now started the season twice on the big club.  I've got some questions about when Drake Caggiula gets healthy and Jesse Puljujärvi being on the same line with Patrick Maroon. Caggiula has a great preseason and I've liked a lot of what I've seen from Maroon, but I'm not sold on running two players with 0 NHL experience on the same line to open the season.  Keeping an eye out.
  • Cam Talbot will start for the Oilers tonight, while newly acquired Brian Elliott will get the nod for Calgary tonight.
  • Iiro Pakarinen (knee), Drake Caggiula (hip) and Matt Hendricks (lower body) will not dress for the Oilers tonight.  Calgary will be without Ladislav Smid (neck)
  • THE STATE OF AFFAIRS: This is game 1.  Game 1 is a little more than 1% of the total season, but it's kind of important for this club.  The fanbase is the most restless I've seen in quite some time, and it would go far to see this team put up a statement victory against their provincial rivals.  If the Flames come in and walk the Oilers, it's going to be a long week.  So, uh, don't let that happen.
  • #GOILERS