Fans in Alberta haven’t had much to cheer about this season.
That’s certainly been the case for fans of the home team in the first four meetings between the Edmonton Oilers and Calgary Flames.
The visiting team has won every matchup this season in the "Battle of Alberta," and that could give the Flames the edge Saturday night at Rexall Place.
The Western Conference’s worst teams will finish their season series. Edmonton (25-37-9) twice posted two-goal victories in Calgary, and the Flames (28-35-7) partially returned the favor by winning both visits up north in overtime.
Both clubs enter after losing home games against other NHL bottom feeders.
The Oilers fell 3-1 to league-worst Buffalo on Thursday. The disappointment was great since the Edmonton had gone 10-4-3 over their previous 17 games.
"I know there’s a lot being made that yes, we lost to Buffalo," coach Dallas Eakins said. "Well they’re one spot below us. For us, I don’t see an uproar when the 22nd-place team loses to the 23rd or the first to the second. It’s a tough night in this league every night, I don’t care who you are playing."
Calgary lost 6-5 to Nashville on Friday. Rookie Joni Ortio was pulled after allowing four goals on 13 shots, with Joey MacDonald replacing him.
"It’s pretty simple, no defense," coach Bob Hartley said. "I’m not pointing at our goalie or our defensemen by any means, I am talking about our team game."
Mike Cammalleri continued his surge for the Flames with two goals and an assist, giving him 10 points during a six-game run.
The Oilers could get Jordan Eberle back after the winger sat out Thursday with a knee injury. Eberle took part in practice Friday.
"I’m not sure, I felt great today," Eberle said. "I really felt strong. I tried to get my lungs under me and my legs and really tried to push it at the end there with some battles. It felt good today, we’ll see how it is tonight and tomorrow morning and we’ll make a decision."
Edmonton winger Nail Yakupov is expected to miss a third straight game with an ankle problem. The Oilers struggled without him and Eberle against a Sabres team that handed goalie Matt Hackett his season debut.
"When you have two players of that skill set out of your lineup, a lot of offense goes out of your lineup with them," Eakins said.
Either Viktor Fasth or Ben Scrivens will get his first taste of this rivalry for Edmonton. Fasth is 2-0-0 with a 1.00 goals-against average in two career starts versus the Flames while Scrivens lost his lone start against them Nov. 30 while with Los Angeles.
Hartley announced that Karri Ramo will start Saturday. Ramo has never taken part in this rivalry, with his lone appearance against Edmonton coming Feb. 24, 2009, with Tampa Bay.