Oilers-Flames Preview

The Edmonton Oilers opened their season with a home victory over

the Calgary Flames, snapping a lengthy losing streak to their

provincial rivals.

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

to win.”

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