In search of their first win of the season, the Flames enter action tonight with some urgency and a little buzz as they get set to play round one of the Battle of Alberta. The Oilers come in after an emotional an exciting win over the LA Kings on Thursday night. Calgary, however, needs their first win of the season sitting 0-2-1. They accomplished some positive things on Wednesday in a 3-2 shootlout loss to Vancouver, but need a more consistent effort against a strong Edmonton team tonight.
Calgary Flames 0-2-1, 14th Western Conference
Curtis Glencross-Alex Tanguay-Jarome Iginla
Mike Cammalleri-Mikael Backlund-Lee Stempniak
Jiri Hudler-Matt Stajan-Roman Cervenka
Sven Baertschi-Blair Jones-Blake Comeau
Mark Giordano-Jay Bouwmeester
T.J. Brodie-Dennis Wideman
Cory Sarich-Derek Smith
It’ll be the debut in the Flames lineup for “The Czech Connection” of Jiri Hudler and Roman Cervenka. It’s not a surprise to see them playing on the same line, as the coaching staff is very aware of the language barrier faced by Cervenka. Talking to Stajan this morning, he’s hoping to open the ice up for his wingers by driving the net, especially without the puck.
Many Flames fans were worried Baertschi might sit this game out, but it doesn’t look like that’s going to happen this evening. Seeing Baertschi on the fourth line, however, was somewhat surprising when the team ran lines at Friday’s practice. We’ll see whether or not he sees time on the powerplay this evening.
For a second straight game, Chris Butler will sit out on the blueline. It’s rather curious, as Butler played 20+ minutes in the first two games of the season before being sat in the press box Wednesday in Vancouver. The good news in that regard sees T.J. Brodie continue to make an impact on the depth chart.
Tim Jackman and Steve Begin will also sit tonight. Miikka Kiprusoff starts in net.
Edmonton Oilers 2-1-0, 8th Western Conference
Taylor Hall-Ryan Nugent-Hopkins-Jordan Eberle
Nail Yakupov-Sam Gagner-Ales Hemsky
Ryan Smyth-Shawn Horcoff-Magnus Paajarvi
Darcy Hordichuk-Eric Belanger-Lennart Petrell
Ladislav Smid-Jeff Petry
Nick Schultz-Justin Schultz
Ryan Whitney-Mark Fistric
It looks like Hordichuk will take the place of Teemu Hartikainen in the lineup tonight, likely to give the Oilers a little edge against their provincial rivals.
There was certainly buzz around Edmonton at the Saddledome this morning, even more than what we’ve seen the last number of years. This team is better than they’ve been the last couple of games and they’re also feeling good in their rivalry with the Flames.
The Oilers dealt Calgary two crucial blows in their playoff hopes last season, beating them at the Saddledome in February and then again in Edmonton in March. The 6-1 win in February, specifically, was kind of a watershed moment for Edmonton. They had played a stellar first period but still found themselves down 1-0 late, but Jordan Eberle’s tying goal in the final minutes of the opening frame opened the flood gates. After losing nine straight in the Battle of Alberta, the northern half has taken the last two.
Devan Dubnyk gets the start tonight for the Oilers.