BOA Round 214: Flames at Oilers

Ladies and gentlemen, tonight is the fifth meeting of the season (and 214th meeting overall) between the Calgary Flames and the Edmonton Oilers. It’s their last meeting until next season, too. I’d say the season series is up for grabs, as each team has won twice – the road team always won – but the Flames needed overtime in both wins at Rexall. The Flames need a win to tie the season series in terms of points earned.

That’s about as far as this game goes in terms of “significance.”

Calgary has 63 points and 12 games left. Edmonton has 59 points and 11 games left. The gap can close considerably with an Edmonton win, while a Calgary win probably cements their draft placement.

THE HOME TEAM

It goes without saying that it’s been a disappointing year in Edmonton. I don’t think they spent time and money bringing in Dallas Eakins to lead the club to 29th place. The Oilers lost two nights ago to Buffalo, but have been playing solid lately, winning five of their last 10.

Lines, via Daily Faceoff:

Hall – Gagner – Perron
Lander – Nugent-Hopkins – Eberle
Hendricks – Gordon – Pitlick
Gazdic – Smyth – Jones

Ference – Schultz
Marincin – Petry
Klefbom – Fraser

Fasth

Viktor Fasth gets his first Battle of Alberta start. He was 2-0-0 with a shutout in two games against the Flames while with Anaheim.

The Oilers obviously have some skilled players (that top line, that second line) and are starting to figure out the “depth role player” riddle. That third line is actually pretty solid. But the defense is a bit dodgy, so you can figure out why they are in the general area that they are, standings-wise.

Oddly, Edmonton has the edge on Calgary on the power-play, the penalty kill and in five-on-five goal differential. How come Calgary’s higher in the standings? Probably because Calgary’s gotten some big contributions from their back-end (Giordano & Brodie, primarily) and some from their depth guys, while Edmonton remains top-heavy.

But if they can ever build something around that top group, wowzers. Granted, we’ve been saying this for years, but the Oilers could be scary-good if the guys building the team had a plan besides “draft high.”

THE ROAD TEAM

The Flames are smarting a bit after last night. On one hand, they scored five goals! On the other, they gave up six. To Nashville, who rarely scores. Yikes.

Lines, via Daily Faceoff:

Cammalleri – Backlund – Byron
Glencross – Stajan – Hudler
Agostino – Monahan – Bouma
Westgarth – Colborne – McGrattan

Giordano – Brodie
Butler – Russell
Smid – Wotherspoon

Ramo

Karri Ramo returns after being out since before the Olympics with an MCL sprain. Joni Ortio returns to the AHL and Joey MacDonald is the back-up for the rest of the year.

Now that they’re getting healthy, the Flames are rapidly beginning to resemble an NHL team. Kenny Agostino makes his Battle of Alberta debut after making his NHL debut last night, playing 12:40 in the loss to the Preds. Returning to the line-up is Kevin Westgarth – slotting in for T.J. Galiardi on the bottom line – and God, I hope Westgarth doesn’t try to fight Gazdic again.

The Flames have also won five of their last ten games, so they’re about as “hot” as the Edmonton Oilers right now.

SUM IT UP

It’s a late-season game between two teams that are well out of the playoff picture! The best each club can hope for some emotion in this tilt, as each group tries to gain some momentum to close out the year.

Let’s hope that this time next season, these games have a little bit more significance in the standings, because hockey’s better when the Flames and Oilers are both doing well and Alberta is a place visiting teams fear to tread.

  • Jordan McNugent-Hallkins

    You guys can’t let it go, huh? I was arguing with the guy because he kept saying Gazdic should take his visor off. He meant Gazdic should take his helmet off prior to fighting, I thought he meant Gazdic should remove the visor from his helmet and play without one, which he can’t do. Shenanigans ensued.

    Got it?

    • RedMan

      look who can’t let it go! hahahaha

      it’s nobody else’s fault that you made yourself look so stupid by insisting that he can’t take his visor off, when everyone in the world new what he meant. Of course Gizdik can take it off. yes, the rules don’t allow it, but the rules don’t allow fighting either. are you really thiat bright, or just arguing cause your team is… well, you know…

      For Gazdick, a giant of a man who is in his own right very tough, to start fights and then keep his helmet/visor on is pathetic. How are the other guys supposed to fight him??? As Cherry pointed out – guys CAN and DO take them off.

      Any real hockey fan, regardless of the team they root for, would agree with Don Cherry on this one – very dishonorable… and we aren’t talking one accidental event where the heat of the moment took over, we are talking of a huge man who is actively starting in or engaging in fights, who wears a shield every time.

      You are going to defend that? if so, then you sir are the true example of blind homerism. of course, anyone who has had the painful opportunity of sharing a game day blog with you realizes this.

      Even Wesgarth showed himself to be a real man, while Gazdick continued to show himself a tool. Just like his one supporter. (hint hint).