Edmonton Oilers (25-14-2, 2nd in North) vs
Calgary Flames (16-21-3, 6th in North)
10 April 2021
8 PM MST
Radio: 630 CHED
Devin Shore scored on a tip-in on a Caleb Jones shot for his fourth goal of the season in the third period to break up a 1-1 tie with the Senators on Thursday night. Mike Smith turned away 39 of 40 shots from the Senators to pick up the W for the Oilers, who have defeated the Senators a perfect nine out of nine times this season. Kailer Yamamoto got things started when he scored his eighth goal of the season on the power play, while Jesse Puljujärvi was rewarded with an empty net goal in the dying seconds of the game for his ninth of the year. Two more points for the Oilers in the bank.
Edmonton will play their fourth game in six nights tonight as they are in Calgary to face a floundering Flames club. Can the Oilers keep the good times going in the latest chapter of in the Battle of Alberta?
Let’s go to the tape.
THE OILERS ARE SAYING
It’s pretty impressive when you think about it...You don’t really get that opportunity too often, and especially as well as the team on the other side has played, and how they’ve gotten better, it seems, every time we’ve played them. We just kind of found ways to get wins. It just shows the resilience of our group.
That’s Oilers goaltender Mike Smith after Edmonton’s 3-1 victory over the Senators, and on his club’s 9-0-0 record against the Ottawa Senators this season.
Give Smith credit, he played out of his mind to help Edmonton earn that ninth win. The Senators were clearly more energized in this game, but the Oilers stood firm in net with Smith. Nine wins over an opponent is pretty cool, if nothing else. Eighteen points will go a long way as the Oilers look to keep clawing towards first place in the North Division this year.
THE FLAMES ARE SAYING
“We’re not scoring and we’re not giving up a whole lot, but when we do, it feels like it’s in the net...We’re just giving up too big of chances when we do give chances. I feel like there’s a lot of close games. We do keep it tight but just didn’t score enough. When we give up chances, they’re usually big ones and they’re usually in the net. It’s just a bad cycle. It has been for a while. We have to stop it.”
That’s Flames forward Mikael Backlund on his club’s 5-3 loss to the Maple Leafs on Monday night.
The Flames have lost four straight.
HAVE SOME OF THIS
- Kyle Turris has cleared waivers. What comes next? As sharp-eyed Bruce McCurdy noted, the Oilers could use it to bring Evan Bouchard to the main roster and start working him in for the first time in over a month. It might be a precursor to the Oilers bringing in a different bottom six centre from another club. Or maybe a top six winger from another club, who knows. With the Oilers not expecting to play their next game until next Saturday at Winnipeg, that’s a perfect amount of time for a player obtained in a trade from the States to quarantine.
- Last pre-game I noted that Zack Kassian was getting moved around the lineup in what looked like an effort to jump-start the 30 year old winger. Against Ottawa, Kassian had just under eleven minutes of ice time. It’s been tough slogging for Kassian this year, who injured his hand earlier in the season after fighting Ottawa’s Erik Gudbranson. He’s at his best when he’s able to agitate, and it doesn’t look like he’s really able to do that with any level of effectiveness at this point in time. With three years to go on his 3.2MM contract, is there any interest from any other club in a part-time pugilist?
- NICE: Connor McDavid has 69 points after 40 games this season. That’s all.
- The Flames are falling, and they’re falling hard. They’ve won just two of their last eleven, a lacklustre 5-9 since Darryl Sutter has been back behind the bench. What’s going on? They’re scoring just 2.35 goals a game during those fourteen games, which would easily put them in the bottom five in goals scored per game overall.
- NET GAINS: Look for Mike Smith to go for his 15th win of the season (14-3-2, .922 SV% / 2.34 GAA / 2 SO) as he will start in net tonight for the Oilers. The Flames are likely to counter with Jacob Markstrom (12-14-2, .898 SV% / 3.02 GAA / 2 SO), though David Rittich (4-7-1, .904 SV% / 2.90 GAA / 1 SO) could also see action.
- ONE TO WATCH: Elias Lindholm had a pair of assists for the Flames last game against the Leafs, he’s the current points leader for the Flames with 33 in 40. He’s an all-situations player that the Oilers would do well to monitor.
- WINS AND LOSSES: Though the Oilers are playing their fourth in six, the Flames have been off since Tuesday. A win tonight against what could be a rusty Flames club could bring the Oilers to within three points of the Division Lead (pending Toronto’s results with the Senators tonight).
Let’s get at it.