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GAME PREVIEW: Edmonton Oilers vs. Calgary Flames

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A highly anticipated chapter of the Battle of Alberta commences tonight.

Edmonton Oilers v Calgary Flames
calculating : goals
Photo by Gerry Thomas/NHLI via Getty Images

Edmonton Oilers (26-18-5) 3rd, Pacific vs

Calgary Flames (26-19-6) 2nd, Pacific

29 January 2020

Rogers Place

8 PM MST

TV: Sportsnet 360 (TVAS, SNE, SNO)

Radio: 630 CHED

SB Nation Opponent: Matchsticks and Gasoline

BACK AT IT

It’s been eleven days since the Oilers played a regular season game. It was a good game. They took down the Coyotes by a 7-3 margin and kept the Pacific Division tight. These are all good things heading into tonight.

You may have heard about a hockey game taking place tonight. It features the Flames from Calgary who are visiting the warm confines of Edmonton. The strong undertones of unfinished business are in the air, as it’s the first time that Zack Kassian will hit the ice after being suspended due his altercation with Calgary’s Matthew Tkachuk.

There’s also a hockey game in the middle somewhere. The Flames are one point up on the Oilers, though Edmonton has two games in hand.

Who will emerge on top tonight?

Let’s go to the tape.

THE OILERS ARE SAYING:

“...You have to count on your depth and our depth has been really good for the last stretch. We have to keep that up and make the most of it.”

Source

That’s Oilers defenceman Darnell Nurse on Edmonton’s burst of secondary scoring in their last game before the break. Riley Sheahan and Josh Archibald combined for seven points in Edmonton’s 7-3 win over the Coyotes on January 18th, and that’d be just fine if they could put that together tonight against Calgary.

THE FLAMES ARE SAYING

“You can tell that teams coming off nine days off aren’t the sharpest. You can tell there’s some execution issues, coverage and stuff both ways. Coming out of the break, that’s kind of what you expect, I guess. We got one big point, but we needed the second.”

Source

That’s Flames goaltender Cam Talbot on his club’s 5-4 shootout loss to the Blues last night.

The Flames played their first game in nine days. Tonight will be Edmonton’s first in eleven. The Oilers will need to shake whatever rust they have off early.

LINES

They’ll go here when available.

HAVE SOME OF THIS

  • At this point, I’d be more surprised if there was a tussle. While everyone is screaming for Matthew Tkachuk’s blood, these are two valuable points we are talking about. Kassian isn’t about to get locked into the same situation unless he’s sure that Tkachuk is gonna drop ‘em. As much as we want to scream at Tkachuk for turtling, the Flames got two points that game.
  • Mike Smith (12-9-3, .901 SV% / 2.96 GAA / 1 SO) was rolling along prior to the break, it wouldn’t surprise me to see him get the start tonight. Look for David Rittich ((19-12-5, .913 SV% / 2.77 GAA / 2 SO) to get the nod for the Flames, as Cam Talbot started last night against St. Louis.
  • Zack Kassian will get his first ice time tonight after serving his two game suspension. There’s a pretty good chance he’ll be on the top line with Connor McDavid tonight, though Josh Archibald performed well in his absence (1-3-4).
  • BENNING BACK: With Matthew Benning back in the fold on defence, there’s now a logjam. Could one of Benning, Larsson or Russell be on the move?
  • HELLO AGAIN: These two teams will meet again on Saturday. All points are valuable, but the dynamic of the Pacific could be very different after this weekend.
  • SICK BAY: There are no injuries to report for the Oilers. For Calgary, Juuso Valimaki (knee) will be out.