Oilers-Flames Preview

What’s probably surprising about the latest edition of the

“Battle of Alberta” is that both the Calgary Flames and Edmonton

Oilers enter it off victories.

One of the Western Conference’s worst teams will make it two

straight Friday night when the Flames try to hand the Oilers a

fifth straight road defeat.

Both teams entered a three-day holiday break by ending losing

streaks Monday.

Edmonton (12-24-3) snapped a season-high six-game slide with a

6-2 home win over Winnipeg that came on the heels of a 6-0 loss to

St. Louis two days earlier that prompted a lengthy post-game team

meeting. Taylor Hall had a goal and two assists.

”Overall, it was a way better game than we had against St.

Louis,” Hall said. ”We had a way better start and we seemed to

carry that over into the rest of the game.

”That’s been our Kryptonite. It seems to be when we get a good

start and they get a goal or they tie it up and we kind of get off

the rails, but that wasn’t the case tonight, we just kept it

going.”

The Oilers also ended a 0-for-14 slide on the power play by

converting 2 of 8 chances, as Hall and Jordan Eberle tallied.

Calgary (14-17-6) ended a 0-2-2 stretch by rallying for a 4-3

shootout win over the Blues. The Flames trailed 3-1 entering the

third period before Michael Cammalleri halved the deficit before

Mark Giordano’s tying goal on the power play with five seconds left

in regulation.

“I felt like we were on a three-game losing streak and I said

that we deserve better, you guys deserve better,” coach Bob Hartley

said.

There’s been plenty of drama in the first two games of this

classic provincial rivalry.

Edmonton rallied from a two-goal deficit entering the third

period for a 4-2 road victory Nov. 16. Hall scored the tying goal

with 11 seconds to go in regulation Dec. 7 before the visiting

Flames prevailed 2-1 on Jiri Hudler’s goal in overtime.

This contest pits the West’s worst defenses, with Calgary

yielding 3.14 goals per game to rank only ahead of Edmonton’s 3.44

mark.

It’s a rivalry in which the Calgary-born Hall has amassed 13

points in his last eight games against the Flames.

Calgary has not announced an update on center Matt Stajan, who

left Monday’s contest after a knee-on-knee collision with David

Backes. Winger Curtis Glencross (high ankle sprain) and defenseman

Kris Russell (sprained knee) are both out. Russell is second on the

team in ice time at 23:39 per game.

The Oilers are beginning a set of back-to-back games as they

host Philadelphia on Saturday. Devan Dubnyk is expected to start

this contest, and he’s 5-1-1 with a 1.86 goals-against average in

his last seven starts against Calgary.

Reto Berra made 32 saves Monday for the Flames. He posted a 1.97

GAA while starting both meetings against Edmonton.