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Calgary Flames vs Edmonton Oilers game preview: Oh, hello again!

Didn't we just see you? Whatever, happy new year!



Happy New Year! It’s the final game of 2014, and right now, things in Alberta are pretty happy. We’ve got the Calgary Flames on a three-game winning streak, and the Edmonton Oilers actually won a game themselves. The two just met up four days ago, in which three quick Flames goals – including Joe Colborne’s first of the year, and two goals by Johnny Gaudreau in 16 seconds – sunk the Oilers, although the Oilers did their best to battle back. They couldn’t manage it, though, and two games into the five game season series, the Flames have a 2-0 lead. Battles of Alberta are always meaningful, though, in a way only Albertans really get nowadays, so it should be a fun finish to the year.

The Flames’ three-game winning streak comes on the back of the Oilers, as well as two straight victories over the Los Angeles Kings. The first go around, the Flames waited until the end to take the game, when Gaudreau’s first career hat trick tied it, and Mark Giordano ended it in overtime. The second time around, two early goals in 1:02 thanks to Curtis Glencross and Markus Granlund got it done. Jonas Hiller and his brand new black mask held off a seriously dominating Kings for the 2-1 win. | Recap | Stats | Boxscore | That mask is the best:

Three hours to the north, things are a bit happier. Just last night the Oilers, with the help of newly-acquired centre Derek Roy, jumped out to a 2-0 lead over the very same Kings. Because they’re the Oilers, they eventually gave up that lead, as the Kings outshot them 15-1 in the third period (how Flames of them!) to force overtime. It took four shootout rounds before David Perron scored the game-winner, giving Ben Scrivens his hard earned, 37-save (plus four more in the shootout) 3-2 win.

The win snapped the Oilers' nine-game losing streak, which followed their 11-game losing streak. The Flames aren't from California, though, so they just might be able to start them on a new one.

This could also be Leon Draisatil's final NHL game this season, with the Oilers expected to return him to junior – pending a trading of his rights from the floundering Prince Albert Raiders to the star-studded Kelowna Rockets – by the weekend. You can read up more on the state of Edmonton over at The Copper & Blue.

Game time: 7:30 p.m. MT

Channel: Sportsnet: it's a premier rivalry at a premier time!

All-time record: The Flames' record against the Oilers has improved a touch, now up to 122-107-19-3, and a +16 goal differential after the Flames' 4-1 victory just days ago.

Common threads: To recap: Ladislav Smid (who just had twins! Aw!), Corey Potter, and Keith Aulie were all members of the opposition in one way or another earlier in their careers. None of the defencemen are expected to actually play tonight, however, due to varying degrees of being terrible and/or injured. There’s also Edmonton’s captain, who seems to enjoy going after various Flames now, and made the Stanley Cup Final with Calgary that one time. Oh, Andrew Ference.

Approaching milestones: Jonas Hiller, who starts every game now, is just under three full games away from a solid 20,000 minutes played in the NHL. Twenty thousand minutes is about 3.8% of an entire year, so… that sounds a little less impressive, but that's still a ton of hockey.

Current records and leaders

Calgary Flames Edmonton Oilers
20-15-3: 43 points 8-22-7: 23 points
Pacific Division: 5th Pacific Division: 7th
Western Conference: 9th Western Conference: 14th
Time on ice
Defence: TJ Brodie (24:55 per game)
Forward: Sean Monahan (19:28 per game)
Defence: Justin Schultz (21:29 per game)
Forward: Ryan Nugent-Hopkins (21:17 per game)
Goals: Jiri Hudler (13)
Assists: Mark Giordano (25)
Points: Jiri Hudler (36)
Goals: Ryan Nugent-Hopkins (11)
Assists: Jordan Eberle (14)
Points: Ryan Nugent-Hopkins (24)
Shots on goal: Sean Monahan (98)
Shooting percentage: Josh Jooris (19.5%)
Shots on goal: Taylor Hall (98)
Shooting percentage: Steve Pinizzotto (13.3%)
Faceoff Leaders
Sean Monahan (49.9%, 820 taken) Boyd Gordon (55.9%, 596 taken)
Penalty minutes: Brandon Bollig (40)
Hits: Lance Bouma (109)
Blocked shots: Kris Russell (116)
Penalty minutes: Matt Hendricks
Keith Aulie (32)
Hits: Matt Hendricks (89)
Blocked shots: Mark Fayne (74)
Corsi/Fenwick (minimum 1/2 team’s games played)
Corsi for%: Jiri Hudler (47.7%, 37 GP)
Paul Byron (47.4%, 38 GP)
Mark Giordano (47.4%, 38 GP)
Fenwick for%: Josh Jooris (49.4%, 28 GP)
Paul Byron (48.9%, 38 GP)
Johnny Gaudreau (48.9%, 37 GP)
Corsi for%: Jeff Petry (52.1%, 36 GP)
Teddy Purcell (52.1%, 37 GP)
Leon Draisaitl (52.1%, 36 GP)
Fenwick for%: Leon Draisaitl (52.9%, 36 GP)
Benoit Pouliot (51.8%, 20 GP)

Possible starting lineups

Calgary Flames
Left Wing Center Right Wing
Curtis Glencross Sean Monahan David Jones
Johnny Gaudreau Markus Granlund Jiri Hudler
Josh Jooris Joe Colborne Paul Byron
Brandon Bollig Matt Stajan Lance Bouma
Left Defense Right Defense
Mark Giordano TJ Brodie
Kris Russell Dennis Wideman
Rafa Diaz Deryk Engelland
Jonas Hiller
Karri Ramo

Edmonton Oilers
Left Wing Center Right Wing
Taylor Hall Ryan Nugent-Hopkins Jordan Eberle
Nail Yakupov Derek Roy Teddy Purcell
David Perron Leon Draisaitl Matt Fraser
Matt Hendricks Boyd Gordon Tyler Pitlick
Left Defense Right Defense
Andrew Ference Jeff Petry
Nikita Nikitin Justin Schultz
Oscar Klefbom Mark Fayne
Ben Scrivens
Viktor Fasth

While Mikael Backlund is nearing his return and taking part in contact practices, he isn’t ready to join the Flames’ lineup just yet. Meanwhile, Josh Jooris is back after missing the last three games with an upper body injury. Mason Raymond sits in his stead.

by Ari Yanover