The Edmonton Oilers will look to complete their three-game road trip with a perfect record as they travel to Calgary to take on the Flames on Saturday night.
1. The Flames are off to a very hot start this season, as they’ve taken advantage of a plum schedule with five wins in their first six games. Calgary is opening up its season with nine of ten games at home and no back-to-backs until they hit the road in November.
Their last game was a 4-1 win over the Pittsburgh Penguins on Tuesday, and their last game before that was a 3-2 win over the Carolina Hurricanes on Saturday.
2. Calgary beat Edmonton in the first meeting between the two teams a couple of weeks ago. The Oilers came out of the gate flat and the Flames scored four goals in the first period. Stuart Skinner was excellent in relief of Jack Campbell and the Oilers nearly mounted a comeback but wound up losing by a score of 4-3.
3. If the Flames win tonight’s game, they’ll capture the season series against the Oilers, as there’s only one more Battle of Alberta scheduled this season. The last time the Flames won a season series with the Oilers was in 2019-20. The Oilers won six of ten meetings in the All-Canadian Division and the two teams split the four games last season. Edmonton, of course, beat the Flames in the playoffs last year in five games.
4. Nazem Kadri had been Calgary’s best player thus far, as he leads the team with four goals and nine points. The worry for the Flames when Matthew Tkachuk said he wasn’t going to stick around was that they were losing the player who often sparked the team. Kadri has filled this role seamlessly, giving the Flames a player who plays well at both ends of the ice and can be a pest.
5. We don’t have starting goaltenders yet but I’d guess that we see a Stuart Skinner vs. Daniel Vladar matchup. Daryl Sutter opted to start Vladar against the Oilers in the first game because Jacob Markstrom had struggled in Edmonton in the past. Skinner has been the better of the two Oilers goalies this season and deserves the big Saturday night start.
6. Ryan Nugent-Hopkins scored his 200th goal earlier this week, becoming just the ninth player in franchise history to score 200 goals as an Oiler. The others on the list are Wayne Gretzky, Jari Kurri, Glenn Anderson, Mark Messier, Ryan Smyth, Leon Draisaitl, Connor McDavid, and Paul Coffey.
He’s had an excellent start to the season after a bit of a down year in 2021-22. Nugent-Hopkins has 11 points through eight games and his five goals are nearly half the way to the 11 goals he scored over 63 games last year.
With six more years left on his contract after this one, it’ll be interesting to see how far Nugent-Hopkins climbs up various lists in team history.
He’ll jump Kurri, Kelly Buchberger, and Shawn Horcoff and into fifth in all-time games played as an Oiler if he stays healthy this year. He’s 310 games behind Kevin Lowe, so reaching the top of the all-time games list seems inevitable. Where would he finish in points? Sixth behind Gretzky, Kurri, Messier, McDavid, and Draisaitl?