For the past two seasons the Battle of Alberta has been the Battle of Basement, with the Oilers narrowly bettering the Flames in 2013, and Calgary finishing ahead last year. It feels like forever since these franchises have been simultaneously competitive, but despite their lack of on-ice success fans in both cities still despise their provincial rival.
Even though tonight’s rosters will feature many players who will never suit up regularly for the Flames or Oilers, fans in both markets will be passionately rooting for the logo.
Until a Stanley Cup run is realistic, or even the playoffs for that matter, the BOA is the series you expect the Oilers to win.
Tonight’s games start at 6 p.m. at Rexall and down the highway at the Saddledome. If you are going to the rink you will get to see Leon Draisaitl’s exhibition debut.
Greg Chase scored 85 points in the WHL last season, and he gets rewarded by playing with Edmonton’s best centre and left winger. He will be back in the WHL this year, but this is will be a wonderful learning experience for him. He came into camp in great shape and gets rewarded for it.
Draisaitl’s line looked very good during scrimmages. Perron mentioned his hip still isn’t a 100% from off-seaon surgery, but I guess it is good enough to play.
Eakins must want to make sure young Yakimov and Tkachev won’t feel intimidated. Westgarth can skate well enough to play with them in a preseason game.
Schultz looked stronger and quicker in practice/scimmages and he’s the guy I will be focusing on tonight. It’s a bonus he is playing with Nurse so I will be able to see him a lot as well. Nurse has to try and calm his game down, which is normal for young, aggressive players.
Many think Scrivens entered camp a bit ahead of Fasth, but if he wants to get the start on October 9th he needs a strong preseason.
Their opposition will be…
OILERS ROAD LINEUP
The Flames, like the Oilers are dressing a lineup that includes players the fans most want to see; Deryk Engelland. They will also showcase Johnny Gaudreau at the Saddledome.
The Flames top pairing of Giordano and Brodie were excellent last season, and if the Flames want to avoid finishing last in the west, that D pair will need to be just as dominant as they were last year. It likely will be difficult for them to match their possession numbers from last season.
- Eakins said the battle for the 2nd and 3rd line centre position is wide
open, but based on who Arcobello and Draisaitl are skating with
compared to Lander, it seems obvious Lander is starting the competition
as the #5 centre. He will need to take a spot away from Drasaitl or
- The Oilers are wisely resting Jeff Petry after he tweaked his shoulder in Friday’s scrimmage. The initial word is that isn’t serious, but it makes no sense to rush him.
- I like the idea of two preseason games in the same day, but the curious part of me wishes they would have been at different times. I was impressed by Marincin in camp, and I’d like to watch him tonight, but it won’t be possible while I’m at the game. Would it bother season ticket holders if the home game started at 3 p.m. today?
Just curious if you’d prefer that, so you could watch both if you wanted to, or because it is preseason you don’t care. Get the games over with and start the real season.
GAME DAY PREDICTIONS: Home town fans will go home happy. The Oilers will win 5-3 in Edmonton while Calgary skates away with a 3-2 at home.
OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTIONS: You spent all summer telling yourself you wouldn’t get sucked into believing the Oilers had a shot for the playoffs, but after watching Hall and RNH combine for three goals you find yourself thinking they can finish 4th in the pacific and beat out 5th place in the Central.
NOT-SO-OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTIONS: Chase will score and someone will suggest the Oilers look seriously at keeping him this year. Schultz will have a positive Corsi rating, setting up a great week of debate on the Nation surrounding his abilities.
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