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GAME PREVIEW: Game 38/56 Edmonton Oilers vs. Calgary Flames

Edmonton hosts provincial rivals as they look to forget all about Tuesday’s debacle in Montréal

NHL: MAR 17 Oilers at Flames Photo by Brett Holmes/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Edmonton Oilers (22-14-1, 3rd in North) @

Calgary Flames (16-18-3, 5th in North)

02 April 2021

Rogers Place


TV: Sportsnet West, Sportsnet Pacific

Radio: 630 CHED

SB Nation Opponent: Matchsticks and Gasoline


The Oilers played quite possibly their worst game of the season in Tuesday’s 4-0 loss to the Canadiens. It was their third game in four days (and second in two), and they played like they had absolutely no gas in the tank. Carey Price needed just sixteen shots en route to a shutout victory for Montréal. The Oilers looked out of it from the moment the puck hit the ice. They’ll try and forget all about that as they’re back home to host the Flames in this incarnation of the Battle of Alberta. Can they change their fortunes tonight?

Let’s go to the tape.


“We didn’t start very well, we didn’t play very well, and we didn’t end very well.”


That’s Oilers head coach Dave Tippett after his club’s 4-0 loss in Montréal on Tuesday night.

Probably Edmonton’s worst game of the year, this game was a late add-on to the schedule after three games were postponed last week. The Oilers were out of gas, they never had any gas this game, and they just couldn’t get anything going.


“It’s been win one, lose one, win one, lose one, win one, lose three or whatever. Time is ticking. We’ve been saying this for the past however long, but the time is really, really ticking, so we have to string now a bunch together. We can only be frustrated for tonight. You can’t let it affect the rest of your season because if we have any hope and any chance of stringing a bunch together against all these teams that are ahead of us, we have to dig down deep.”


That’s Flames forward Matthew Tkachuk after his club’s 5-1 loss to the Winnipeg Jets on Monday.

For the recent troubles the Oilers have had, the Flames have been in trouble for some time now. Since Darryl Sutter has come back to Calgary, the Flames are just 5-6,


  • MR. JONES: Caleb Jones? In the lineup? About time. Jones hasn’t played since March 18th against the Jets, and that was for just nine minutes and change. Easily a top-four defenceman for the Oilers, he’s hit a blind spot among Dave Tippett’s line card. Jones is almost a surefire pick for the Seattle Kraken come expansion draft.
  • WELCOME, ALEX STALOCK: The Oilers have got to keep Stalock on the roster for the remainder of the year. Do not send him down, because someone will claim him. Stalock getting activated means that someone had to go to the taxi squad, that someone was Tyler Ennis. It shouldn’t have been Ennis, but he cleared moments ago.
  • GETTING DOWN TO CRUNCH TIME: Just ten days between now and the trade deadline. The Oilers ought to be in the market for a winger to play top six, and I wouldn’t be averse to shipping this year’s first round selection for it. Sure, I’d like to trade a couple of bloated contracts, but if it comes down to it, the first is in play. Why? With what’s gone on over the last season with Covid-19, there’s a high potential for big gaps in scouting. Who’s the consensus number one player in this year’s draft? If the Oilers are expecting to pick in, say, the mid-20s, what’s the likelihood this player hits after a year where plenty of leagues didn’t play due to Covid? One caveat: if the Oilers ship the first out, they would like to get at least one pick in return. A 2021 without a first round selection doesn’t have the Oilers picking until round 4. You’ll recall shipping two second round picks out for 9 games of Andreas Athanasiou, as well as transferring a third round pick to Calgary for James Neal’s 20 18 goal season in 2019-20.
  • LAYOFF: The Flames have been idle since Monday’s loss versus Winnipeg. Scheduled to play against the Canucks, their Wednesday game was postponed due to a potential Covid outbreak among the Canucks. With news that the Canucks now have eight positive tests, it will be a bit before the Canucks are game ready. The NHL postponed Edmonton’s contest against the Canucks on Saturday as well.
  • OUTSIDE LOOKING IN: For Calgary, they’ve got to start winning a lot, and they’ve got to do it quickly. They’re ten points behind the Oilers in the standings, and six behind the Canadiens. The Habs have four games in hand on the Flames. Calgary would need to get close to 30 points in their remaining 19 games on the season to have a good shot at making the playoffs. With three point games (and all divisional contests), that’s an uphill battle.
  • NET GAINS: Expect Mike Smith for the Oilers tonight. (12-3-1, .919 SV% / 2.41 GAA / 2 SO). The Flames will likely counter with Jacob Markstrom (12-12-2, .902 SV% / 2.94 GAA / 2 SO). Markstrom would be looking for a bounce-back performance after yielding five goals on 28 shots versus Winnipeg on Monday.