The Edmonton Oilers opened their season with a home victory over
the Calgary Flames, snapping a lengthy losing streak to their
Their next goal is figuring out a way to win in southern Alberta
– and on the road in general.
Edmonton has lost its last five visits to Calgary and has won
just twice in its last 25 road games overall, ugly trends it will
look to end Saturday night at the Scotiabank Saddledome.
The Flames (1-2-0) haven’t had a losing record against the
Oilers (2-1-0) since 2000-01, but Edmonton got off to a good start
in its attempt to win the season series Oct. 7. Four different
Oilers scored and Nikolai Khabibulin made 37 saves in a 4-0 victory
that snapped Edmonton’s seven-game slide against Calgary.
The Oilers followed that with a 3-2 win over Florida on Sunday,
but their first trip away from Rexall Place saw their road woes
from last season continue. Edmonton ended 2009-10 without a
regulation victory in its last 24 road games, and nothing changed
in a 4-2 loss Thursday at Minnesota.
Edmonton fell to 2-21-2 on the road since Dec. 11, with two
shootout victories at Los Angeles in that stretch.
“As a pro, you need to come in and think you’ll be victorious,”
winger Dustin Penner said of the Oilers’ road mindset.
Confidence hasn’t come easily for Edmonton in Calgary, where it
has been outscored 23-9 in its last five visits. All four of the
Wild’s goals on Thursday came on the power play, an issue that has
also plagued the Oilers recently at the Saddledome. The Flames are
7 for 15 (46.7 percent) during their five-game home winning streak
in the series.
Calgary can only hope that success continues. The Flames are 1
for 13 (7.7 percent) with the man advantage this season, and became
the NHL’s first team to be shut out twice with a 3-0 loss to
visiting Florida on Thursday.
“After the first five minutes of the first period and until the
end of the second, our compete level wasn’t there,” forward Alex
Tanguay said. “We were second to the puck, they seemed to be
winning every battle. When you don’t play with the puck, it’s tough
Calgary’s top line of Jarome Iginla, Olli Jokinen and Tanguay
has failed to record a point this season.
“We’re a better team then what we’ve shown in two out of three
games,” Tanguay said. “In order for us to be in the playoffs,
we’ll have to show some consistency.”
Iginla’s drought stretches back farther than the opener versus
Edmonton. The five-time All-Star and Flames captain has gone nine
games without a point dating back to last season, and he’s played
14 straight games without a goal.
Iginla had two goals and two assists in his last home game
against the Oilers, but has only one assist in his other eight
games in the series since April 10, 2009.
Khabibulin is 15-4-0 with a 2.20 goals-against average all-time
in Calgary, though he lost his only start there since joining