NHL Preview from The Sports Network
Friday, March 16th (All times Eastern)
Calgary Flames (34-25-12) at Edmonton Oilers (27-36-7), 9:30 p.m.
(Sports Network) - Quick starts and their longest winning streak of the season have the Flames right in the thick of the playoff race. Calgary looks to jump into one of the Western Conference's postseason spots this evening against an Edmonton Oilers club looking to play spoiler.
That could be easier said than done for the Oilers, who have lost 16 of 18 and 19 of their last past 24 versus the Flames. Edmonton did snap a nine-game skid in the Battle of Alberta with a 6-1 win at Calgary on Feb. 21, getting three points from both Sam Gagner and Jordan Eberle, but has lost four straight and nine of its past 12 at home in this series.
The Flames will look to avoid losing consecutive games to the Oilers for the first time since Oct. 17-18, 2008 and extend a five-game overall winning streak tonight. Calgary lengthened its run last night with a 4-1 win over Phoenix.
Miikka Kiprusoff made 27 saves for the Flames, who are on their longest winning streak since a six-game run from Jan. 21-Feb. 3 of last year. The win also pulled Calgary just a point behind Phoenix and Colorado for the final two playoff spots in the West. The Flames can make a move tonight thanks to their win over the Coyotes as both Phoenix and Colorado are idle tonight.
"Phoenix is a team that plays hard and every shift is a tough shift," said Calgary head coach Brent Sutter. "Tonight was a lot of trench work, a lot of work on the boards and we got some timely goals."
Playing in his fourth NHL game, Sven Baertschi scored for a third consecutive outing, while captain Jarome Iginla matched a career high by scoring in his sixth straight contest. Iginla, who has 31 goals on the season, has eight tallies and six assists over an eight-game point streak.
"I'm feeling better. It's something that, during the course of the year you go through ups and downs," said Iginla. "You try to make the tough stretches as short as possible and that ones that you're feeling good and feeling better as long as possible. You just keep going. I think our whole team is feeling better."
Iginla has two goals and six points in five meetings with the Oilers this season.
Matt Stajan scored last night to run his point streak to five consecutive games (3 goals, 3 assists) and Alex Tanguay also lit the lamp.
Calgary has scored first in 12 of its past 13 games, a trend it will look to continue this evening against an Edmonton squad that snapped a three-game slide with Wednesday's 3-0 defeat of Columbus.
Devan Dubnyk made 22 saves to notch his second shutout of the season and fourth of his career, while Ryan Nugent-Hopkins tallied a goal and an assist.
The Oilers won for the only second time in eight games two nights after head coach Tom Renney ripped his club following a defeat to the Sharks.
"The guys responded really well," said Oilers forward Shawn Horcoff. "I think we dictated how we wanted to play that game. We have to do more of that. We were more aggressive and we took it over right from the start."
Taylor Hall extended his goal-scoring streak to four straight games and Linus Omark also scored for Edmonton.
03/16 10:46:32 ET