Morning Skate Report: Flames vs. Oilers
On the heels of a 4-3 shootout loss to the Columbus Blue Jackets on Thursday, the Flames know they need to stay focused and can't dwell on the negatives.
"We need to try to get a win tonight and move on," said forward Olli Jokinen. "We didn't get the result we wanted but the bigger picture is we got five out of a possible six points."
There may be no better opportunity to turn things around than tonight against the Oilers in the Battle of Alberta. The Flames have owned the Oilers in the past few years and despite the recent surge this season, Brent Sutter doesn't care who the opponent is.
"They obviously have had a pretty season to date but my focus is on our own team. I'm not caught up on the Edmonton Oilers or how they're playing. My focus is to be the head coach of the Flames."
Sutter didn't mince words when the subject of the last game came up.
"It's a tough way to lose a game when you're up by two goals with four minutes left. We move and learn from it and get ready for tonight."
With the injury that Mark Giordano sustained against the Blue Jackets, there is some big shoes to fill on the blueline. This is also an opportunity for some youngsters to step up and try to prove they belong. Joe Piskula was called up from the Abbotsford Heat of the American Hockey league where he registered 1 goal, 3 assists and 9 penalty minutes in 18 games.
"Yes, I'm in tonight playing with Smith (Derek) and I'm excited" Piskula said. "It's four years of hard work, I've stuck with it and waited for this opportunity."
Piskula provides a physical edge and a responsible defensive role. He knows he won't be replacing the offence that Girdano provides nightly.
"I'm solid defensively, move the puck, try to bring a physical aspect back there. More like a shut-down defenceman. I can skate so I can also jump up into the play when it's the right opportunity."
With the Oilers talking about post-season hockey for the first time in many years, the Flames currently sit seven points back of them with a pair of games in hand. That same number of points is also what separates the Flames from a playoff position.
Flames captain Jarome Iginla beleives the Flames can get back in the race.
"We've been playing better lately. We need to continue that and get ourselves on a real streak here. We play a lot of games in a short amount of time but it's a chance for us to move up quickly."
Iginla knows they have a tough test tonight against the upstart Oilers.
"They're playing well, they came out of the gate strong but you look at the standings and we play them twice in the next week so they are catchable."
Author: Jason Johnson