Coach Dallas Eakins feels the Western Conference-worst Edmonton
Oilers are improving mentally.
They’re certainly improving in the win column, and another
meeting with the Calgary Flames could keep that going.
Taylor Hall looks to build on his latest hat trick and help the
Oilers continue their recent surge by getting another win over
their bitter provincial rival on Saturday night.
Edmonton (10-18-2) is two points behind Calgary (10-14-4) and
seems capable of closing that gap after winning six of nine games
while averaging 3.7 goals. That stretch started with a 4-2 victory
at Calgary on Nov. 16, when Edmonton did all of its scoring in the
third period after falling behind by two for its fifth win in seven
The Oilers’ latest offensive performance was their best of the
season. They scored five unanswered goals while cruising to
Thursday’s 8-2 win over Colorado.
Eakins felt the recent improvement was coming, and he may be
particularly relieved after he was being heavily criticized for
“Over the last few weeks, our group has taken a step in mental
toughness,” Eakins said. “I didn’t see a win of that score coming,
though. I definitely thought we’d be in a tight game.”
Hall will try to make a difference again. The left wing scored
his fourth career hat trick Thursday, while adding an assist to
help the Oilers split the first two of a five-game homestand.
“It’s always a fun night when you get a hat trick, but for us to
win in the fashion that we did gives us some confidence,” Hall
said. “This homestand could prove to be big for us.
“I haven’t been in this league long, but I’ve been in it enough
to know that anything can happen on any night against any team. You
have to be ready for the opportunity. You just have to come out and
play your game.”
Hall seems to enjoy being at Rexall Place, totaling nine points
during a five-game scoring streak. However, he has just two points
in six games there against the Flames compared to 10 points over
his past four visits to Calgary.
Jordan Eberle, the team leader with 25 points, has 13 in eight
games versus the Flames after scoring a goal in the most recent
matchup last month.
Calgary is looking to rebound from Friday’s 3-2 home loss to the
Avalanche. The Flames relinquished the lead on defensive
breakdowns, giving up two goals in 54 seconds late in the second
“It’s a disappointing loss,” captain Mark Giordano said. “We
weren’t moving like we were in the first and they capitalized on
some breakdowns. We’ve got to find a way not to give up those close
Production from Michael Cammalleri could help. The center leads
the Flames with 10 goals, but he has just one over the past seven
Cammalleri hasn’t found the net in 10 straight meetings with the
Oilers – four at Edmonton.
Ladislav Smid is making his first appearance at Rexall Place
since being traded to the Flames last month. The defenseman has one
assist in 11 games with Calgary after spending his first seven-plus
seasons with the Oilers.