Preview: Flames vs. Oilers
At home or on the road, the Calgary Flames continue to have their way with the Edmonton Oilers.
The Flames look to record an eighth straight win against their provincial rival and a 10th consecutive home victory over the Oilers on Saturday night.
Calgary (13-13-2) extended its overall run in the series with a 5-3 road win last Saturday, and its nine-game home winning streak over the Oilers is its longest current run against any opponent. The Flames hold a 41-18 scoring advantage during that stretch since Edmonton last won at the Saddledome 4-3 on Oct. 17, 2008.
It's also Edmonton's longest current drought in any city.
Though the Oilers (14-12-3) avoided a third straight loss with a 4-1 win over Colorado on Friday, they could again face a tough task while trying for their first victory over the Flames anywhere since beating them 4-0 on Oct. 7, 2010 - their only win in the last 15 meetings.
"We have to be focused and ready to take on the Flames," Oilers star rookie Ryan Nugent-Hopkins said.
The Flames are 5-1-1 in their last seven overall, and they may have their power play in order after scoring twice with the man advantage during Thursday's 3-2 comeback win over the Avalanche.
Previously mired in a 1-for-35 power-play slump at home, including an 0-for-5 showing through two periods Thursday, Calgary scored twice during a high-sticking double minor to Colorado's T.J. Galiardi early in the third.
"We just had to stick with it and break our opposition," said forward Lee Stempniak, who had one of those goals and assisted on the other. "It was huge to get those two goals on the power play as then we had something to build on."
Calgary is 10 of 26 on the power play during its seven-game overall winning streak against the Oilers.
Olli Jokinen, who scored the winner Thursday, notched one of his two goals at Edmonton last weekend on the power play as the Flames went 2 for 3. He also has nine assists in his last 11 games against the Oilers.
Calgary's Miikka Kiprusoff has a 2.63 goals-against average while winning five of his last six starts overall, and a 2.27 GAA during a personal seven-game home winning streak versus Edmonton.
Nugent-Hopkins, the first overall pick in this year's draft, has six goals and 12 assists in his last 11 games. However, his only point in two games versus Calgary came on a goal last Saturday.
Sam Gagner scored two of his three goals this season Friday and added an assist as Edmonton concluded a 2-3-1 homestand.
"You get the sense that they were sick and tired of (losing)," coach Tom Renney told the Oilers' official website. "We've got something to build on."
Gagner's other goal came against the Flames last weekend. He has recorded seven of his nine assists over his last nine contests after being held to two points in his first 13 games.
"It definitely feels good to turn things around," Gagner said. "There have been times this year where it has been frustrating. You want to contribute to the wins."
Renney may be reluctant to start veteran Nikolai Khabibulin in this back-to-back scenario after he made 28 saves to snap a personal three-game skid Friday.
Khabibulin, who stopped 27 of 31 Flames shots last Saturday, has a 3.98 GAA while losing five straight to Calgary, but backup Devan Dubnyk is 0-2-1 with a 3.91 GAA in his career in the rivalry.