GDB 55.0: Oilers vs. Flames – Round 3 (8pm MT, HNIC)

Photo credit:Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports
1 month ago
From where I blog, there’s nothing better than the Edmonton Oilers squaring off against the Calgary Flames on Saturday night on Hockey Night in Canada. Even though the Battle of Alberta has had its ups and downs over the years, it’s still a rivalry that I cannot wait to watch any time Calgary shows up on the schedule. Are you excited? I’m excited. Ladies and gentlemen, it’s game day.
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As the 262nd edition of the Battle of Alberta approaches, the stage is set for the third of four meetings between two clubs that just do not like each other very much. Tonight, at Rogers Place, Oilers fans will pack the stand in eager anticipation as their beloved heroes square off against their most hated rivals from Calgary.
Under head coach Kris Knoblauch, who is experiencing only his second Battle of Alberta behind the bench, the Oilers have completely turned their season around to the tune of a 30-10-1 record post-Woodcroft. With Knobby behind the bench, the boys have shown resilience and tactful play that has allowed them to climb up the Pacific Division standings, but their attention to detail has waivered significantly since coming back from the all-star break.
In the nine games played since their bye week, the Oilers have given up 36 goals or four goals per game, which is a far cry from the defensive-minded efforts we saw through the team’s 16-game win streak. The Oilers are giving up more scoring chances, they’re giving up more goals on the penalty kill (yesterday aside), and they’re nowhere near as dialled in as they need to be over this recent 5-4-1 stretch they’re on.
But let’s talk about the Flames for a minute, shall we? Despite their somewhat mediocre record of 27-25-5, Calgary rolls into town on the momentum of back-to-back wins, including a big OT win over Boston on Thursday night. And in a rivalry as storied as this one, what happened in the first two games really doesn’t matter. The Flames will undoubtedly come out firing on all cylinders, eager to avenge their earlier defeats and reclaim bragging rights in the Battle of Alberta.
Over their last 10 games, the Flames are sporting a 6-4-0 record and are playing pretty solid hockey despite the fact that Craig Conroy is selling off parts ahead of the deadline. With the likes of Lindholm and Zadarov already gone, you’d think Calgary would fall further out of playoff contention, but that hasn’t been the case just yet. Instead, they’re playing loose and fast and giving their opponents fits, which will be a challenge the Oilers will have to navigate in the second half of their back-to-back.
Let’s see what the numbers say…


LAST 10 GAMES5-4-16-4-0
POWER PLAY%27.214.3
AVG. SHOTS/FOR33.731.4
TEAM SAVE%.909.909
CORSI FOR%55.4750.77
Numbers courtesy of Natural Stat Trick (Sv%, CF%, PDO, Shooting%, xGF% all at 5×5)
  • Connor McDavid is currently riding a 21-game home point streak where he’s put up 12 goals and 38 assists in that time. McDavid is now tied with himself (16G, 23A – 2022-23 season) for the 6th longest home point streak in franchise history, making him just the second player in Oilers history to record multiple home point streaks of 20+ games. The captain joins Wayne Gretzky who had five such streaks at home, the longest of which lasted 33 games in 85-86.
  • Corey Perry leads all active Oilers in career games (71) versus the Flames, while Leon Draisaitl leads all active players in career points (55) against our southern rivals.
  • The Oilers are 8-1-1 in their last 10 games at Rogers Place, and have outscored their opponents 42-23 while going 11-for-24 (45.8%) on the power play and killing off 26 of the 29 (89.7%) shorthanded situations they’ve faced.



Oilers ***UPDATED***

Foegele – McDavid – Hyman
Nugent-Hopkins – Draisaitl – Perry
Kane – McLeod – Janmark
Holloway – Ryan – Brown
Ekholm – Bouchard
Nurse – Ceci
Kulak – Desharnais
Seeing as the Oilers played last night, I’m not expecting to get any lineup notes before puck drop so I’ve carried over the line combos from yesterday with the exception of Stuart Skinner getting the start. Given that the team actually played really well despite the result, I doubt we’ll see any changes but I’ll be sure to jump back in and edit the post once we find out more.
***New line combos are in. Perry gets the lift up to the second line with RNH and Draisaitl.


Huberdeau – Sharangovich – Kuzmenko
Zary – Kadri – Pospisil
Mangiapane – Backlund – Coleman
Hunt – Rooney – Duehr
Hanifin – Tanev
Weegar – Andersson
Kylington – Pachal
It’s obvious to say that the Flames don’t have the same top end talent as the Oilers, but what I noticed when I looked at their stats page this morning is that they get much more consistent offence from throughout their lineup. Calgary has eight players with 30+ points whereas the Oilers have only six. Does this stat mean anything for tonight’s game? Not necessarily, but I do think it suggests that the winner of tonight’s game could come down to whoever gets a contribution from lower in the lineup.


From Flamesnation.ca:
Since the All-Star break, the Flames are 5-3-0. Most of the season, though, they’ve wobbled between winning and losing streaks, a trait that’s kept them hovering around the .500 mark and prevented them from making up much ground in the Western Conference post-season race. Simply put, this is an important hockey game for the Flames. The Flames have found ways to win lately and played really well against some really good teams. That trend will need to continue at Rogers Place.
On one hand, Andrei Kuzmenko has four points in eight games with the Flames. That’s pretty good! On the other hand, he’s had his ice time cut back in each of the past two games, including being parked on the bench for the majority of Thursday’s game. If the Flames are going to beat the Oilers, they’ll need Kuzmenko’s scoring touch.


Photoshop: Tom Kostiuk
GAME DAY PREDICTION: The Oilers bounce back after last night’s loss with a clutch 4-2 win.
OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION: Connor McDavid has been an apple tree lately, posting 16 assists through his last six games, and that trend continues against the Flames with the captain tacking on two more helpers.
NOT-SO-OBVIOUS GAME DAY PREDICTION: Connor Brown. Finally. I really mean it this time.

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