NHL Preview from The Sports Network|
Saturday, April 13th
(All times Eastern)
Calgary Flames (15-21-4) at Edmonton Oilers (16-17-7), 10 p.m.
(Sports Network) - The last time the Edmonton Oilers played the Calgary
Flames, they picked up a victory that had them just one point back of a
playoff spot in the Western Conference.
A subsequent four-game losing streak has put those playoff hopes in danger and
the Oilers will hope another meeting with the Flames on Saturday night can
right the ship.
Edmonton was tied for 10th in the West after sweeping a home-and-home set with
Calgary to begin the month, capping a five-game winning streak with an 8-2
victory in Calgary on April 3.
The Oilers, though, have followed with their longest losing streak since
dropping five straight from March 1-8 and have been outscored 13-3 over their
current four-game winless stretch. That has dropped the club, which has not
made the playoff since 2006, into 12th in the conference and six points behind
the eighth-place Detroit Red Wings with a game in hand.
After three straight losses on the road, the Oilers opened a three-game
homestand on Wednesday with a 3-1 setback to the Phoenix Coyotes. Nail Yakupov
scored midway through the third period to make it a one-goal game, but
Edmonton's offense went silent after that.
Devan Dubnyk made 29 saves in the setback.
"It was too little, too late for the result we needed, which was points,"
Oilers coach Ralph Krueger said. "It's a tough one to swallow. There are no
points to give any more. We're not giving up. We need to do everything
possible to win the next game."
Krueger's club will have to do that without forward Ales Hemsky, who will sit
out the next seven days of action to rest a nagging foot injury.
Edmonton has won four of the past five meetings with Calgary in the Battle of
Alberta after losing nine straight in this series. The Flames have still won
seven of their last 10 in Edmonton.
Calgary is playing the role of spoiler as it sits in a tie for 27th in the
overall NHL standings with 34 points. That didn't stop the Flames from handing
the Coyotes a 3-2 overtime setback on Friday night.
Mark Giordano scored the winner with 23.1 seconds left in the bonus frame,
wristing home a one-touch pass from Curtis Glencross.
Calgary won for just the second time in its past eight and that includes a
victory at Colorado on Monday that snapped a 13-game road slide. Still,
Giordano wouldn't say that the club is playing loose and that is the reason
for the current success.
"I think we're a team that is playing a hard-working game," said Giordano.
"We've inserted some young guys who don't take any shifts off and they're
doing a great job for us. It's showing in the results."
Lee Stempniak and Jiri Hudler each scored versus the Coyotes, while Joey
MacDonald made 29 saves for the Flames.
Calgary did lose veteran forward Alex Tanguay to a knee injury in the second
period and he did not return. His current status is unknown.
04/13 10:35:12 ET