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GAME PREVIEW: Game 26/56 Edmonton Oilers vs Calgary Flames

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Oilers looking for a statement game tonight in the latest installment of the Battle of Alberta

Toronto Maple Leafs v Edmonton Oilers
Connor McDavid and the Oilers look to forget all about their last three games
Photo by Andy Devlin/NHLI via Getty Images

Edmonton Oilers (14-11-0, 3rd in North) vs.

Calgary Flames (11-11-2, 5th in North)

06 March 2021

Rogers Place

8 PM MST

TV: Sportsnet

Radio: 630 CHED

SB Nation Opponent: Matchsticks and Gasoline

NEAR ZERO

Flat out, the Oilers have not had it good over their past three games. The Oilers were able to score one goal last game, and it happened midway through the second period when Ryan Nugent-Hopkins closed the gap to 4-1. That’s all the goals that the Oilers were able to put up during their three game series with the Leafs this week. Let’s never speak of it again.

Edmonton hooks up with their provincial rivals from Calgary tonight. The Flames have a new (old?) bench boss tonight, though newly minted Flames coach Darryl Sutter won’t physically be behind the bench. The Oilers will need this to be a statement game and will need to come out flying from the first puck drop. Can the Oilers fill the Flames goal and help people forget about the Leafs?

Let’s go to the tape.

THE OILERS ARE SAYING

“For whatever reason we couldn’t figure those guys out and they had us pretty figured out...We have to move on to the next one, we have a pretty big one against Calgary (Flames), back to the Battle of Alberta (on Saturday) and then three against an Ottawa (Senators) team that is playing very, very well. This is a big point in our season for us”

Source

That’s Oilers captain Connor McDavid after Edmonton’s 6-1 loss to the Toronto Maple Leafs on Wednesday night.

Wednesday’s loss to the Leafs caps a truly forgettful three game period for the Oilers. Able to score just one goal against Toronto, the Leafs outscored the Oilers by a 13-1 margin during the series. Edmonton can begin the healing process with a statement win against Calgary today.

THE FLAMES ARE SAYING

“In order to be a playoff team, you need to play playoff hockey every night. That’s a challenge with the schedule. You can win on a lot of nights with your ‘B’ Game if everybody’s dug into it, but that’s what we have to try and do here.”

Source

That’s newly (re-)hired Flames coach Darryl Sutter. Sutter was tapped after Calgary’s 7-3 win over the Ottawa Senators on Thursday night. He’s currently undergoing Covid protocol and won’t be physically behind the bench tonight. A two-time Stanley Cup winner with the LA Kings, Sutter is now back with the club he took to the Cup Finals back in 2004. He has been out of the league since the end of the 2016-17 season.

HAVE SOME OF THIS

  • Coach looks like he’s going back to the Battler for the Battle of Alberta. Smith’s last two starts have been less than great (he allowed ten over two starts in the Toronto debacle), but he will look to erase all that with a win tonight. Smith is 6-2-0 on the season with a .923 SV% and a 2.33 GAA. Hoping to see David Rittich in net for the Flames, though Jacob Markstrom picked up the W in their win versus the Senators on Thursday.
  • The club has been goal-deficient over the last three games. Yesterday in practice we saw the breakup of the DRY line. The DRY line (Ryan Nugent-Hopkins / Leon Draisaitl / Kailer Yamamoto) was the only line that produced a goal during the series with the Leafs. A more familiar lineup featuring 93-97-13 was back on top, while Dominik Kahun was with Leon Draisaitl and Kailer Yamamoto. Seems a safe bet to see those two lines again tonight.
  • Alex Chiasson is back from serving a one game suspension, and it’s a good bet you’ll see him back tonight. Prior to the Toronto series, Chiasson had seven points in his previous eight games. Tonight’s a good night to start that up again.
  • D-CISIONS: Yesterday we saw the D pairs in practice, and a couple really stuck out for me. I think the Nurse/Barrie pair is a given, but that’s where my confidence ends. William Lagesson / Adam Larsson were on a pair, Caleb Jones and Ethan Bear were on a pair, while Kris Russell and Evan Bouchard were on another. Tagging Kris Russell with Evan Bouchard is a head scratcher for me. Jones/Bear works for me, but this pair was listed as the fourth pair in practice. Surely, Coach isn’t tipping his hand. Right? Kind of a Gene Principe pun there. I’ll show myself out.
  • The trio of Elias Lindholm, Dillon Dube and Matthew Tkachuk was a money maker for Calgary in their last game. Dube cashed for a hat trick, Elias Lindholm picked up a pair of assists, while Matthew Tkachuk was irritating. If this trio stays together tonight, it’s one to pay attention to.
  • SCRATCHES: Zack Kassian is still week-to-week for the Oilers. William Lagesson is listed as day-to-day with an upper body injury, but we may see him return tonight. There is no injuries listed for Calgary at this time.