This one could easily be known as the Battle of the Suck. The Oilers followed up their 5-game road win streak with 6 straight losses. The Calgary Flames also have been struggling, having won only one of their last 7. They are 1-4-2 in that time frame. Both teams will be looking to snap out of their losing skids with a win tonight. I have to say, I’m pretty indifferent as to which team snaps the skid.
At any rate, the Flames generally have our number, so here are my predictions:
Brain: 5-3 Flames
Heart: 4-3 Oilers
Ok, there, I redeemed myself as an Oiler fan by hoping for an Oilers win! I have to wonder though how much Quinn regrets signing on as coach here. No one said it would be easy, Pat!
Edmonton Oilers Projected Line-Up (subject to change)
Penner — Gagner — Nilsson
Jacques — Horcoff — Brule
Stone — Potulny — O’Sullivan
Moreau — Cogliano — Stortini
Souray — Gilbert
Visnovsky — Smid
Strudwick — Staios
Calgary Flames Projected Line-Up (subject to change)
Iginla — Jokinen — Conroy
Dawes — Langkow — Bourque
Glencross — Nystrom — Moss
Prust — Boyd — McGratton
Regehr — Phaneuf
Giordano — Bouwmeester
Johnson — Pardy
- Lines updated, as per Oilers Nation
- Grebeshkov scratched, Strudwick in
1ST PERIOD SUMMARY
2:02 – EDM – Potulny from Strudwick, Stone
Strudwick gets a nice shot on goal that Potulny deflects in.
18:58 – CGY – Bourque from Dawes, Jokinen
Dawes beats Staios to a puck behind the net. He throws it out front to Bourque, who puts it in the net.
- Andrew Cogliano of all people drops them with Dustin Boyd. He gets off to a really good start landing a few in a row, but then Boyd pops his bucket off and unloads a few shots of his own. Score the takedown and win to Boyd, but great scrap by both. Big surprise. Cogliano’s got a bit of swelling on his face.
- On an early powerplay, Gagner finds Horcoff alone in front of the net. Horc bangs away at it twice but can’t beat Kipper. He falls to his knees and gets a great pass over to Nilsson who is also stopped. Great battle.
- Regehr dodges a huge hit from Jacques.. damn that would have been gratifying to see.
- Moreau is all tied up by Bouwmeester while driving to the net for a juicy rebound. He kicks it to his stick, but barely shoots it wide. He draws a penalty on the play to Bouwmeester.
- Pardy throws a huge hit on Stone in front of the Calgary bench.
- Robert Nilsson surprises Rexall, sacrificing the body blocking a shot from the point to end a frantic Calgary attack.
- On the powerplay, Phaneuf shoots it way up high and Glencross tips it down in the net. The refs immediately wave it off and they go upstairs. The call on the ice stands… no goal.
- Very solid period for Deslauriers.
2ND PERIOD SUMMARY
9:22 – CGY – PP – Bourque from Jokinen, Boyd
A shot from Jokinen hits the bar and drops in the crease area. Bourque out battles Strudwick to the puck and puts it behind Deslauriers for good.
- The Oilers luck out on another one. JDD had a puck trapped for a second and a Flame poked it loose into the net, but the ref waved it dead beforehand.
- Potulny swings behind the net and backhands it to O’Sullivan on the way by. O’Sullivan just misses putting it into the bottom corner of the net.
- Gagner throws a shot on net that Kipper barely handles. Looks like Pardy poked it out of trouble behind him. The Oilers continue to rally and pressure on this shift with Gagner setting up JFJ, but the Flames prevent a goal.
- JFJ nails Dawes from behind, and gets a penalty. I like Jacques, but he’s never been one to obey the stop sign on the back.
- Moss hits Staios from behind. Not sure how there wasn’t a call there, but hey, it’s the Battle of Alberta. Staios goes right after him afterwards, but play continues on.
- Jacques and Regehr slam into each other while racing after a puck, rattling the boards.
- Jacques sets up Brule with a beauty, on the doorstep, but Brule is robbed by Kipper.
- Stone pokes the beehive in front of the Flames net. A mini-brawl ensues, but somehow only Stone goes to the box.
- Horcoff gets a shorthanded chance, but doesn’t quite have enough gas. Quasimodo rides his back the whole way, but eludes a penalty. Credit to him for not holding or anything that would cause a penalty.
3RD PERIOD SUMMARY
5:37 – CGY – SH – Bourque from Langkow
Visnovsky tries to pass it up to Gilbert but it is intercepted. Deslauriers makes the save but kicks it out to Bourque, who has the puck go in off his skate.
7:06 – CGY – Giordano from Conroy
Giordano shoots one from the faceoff dot that goes up high over Deslaurier’s glove. Bad goal that Deslauriers should have had.
- Jacques gets a puck to him on a wild bounce off a shot by Gagner. He fires it on net, but hits the side of the net.
- Nilsson surprises all with a big hit on Bouwmeester.
- Potulny receives a stretch pass from O’Sullivan at the Flames blue line. He goes in with a Flame hounding him and blasts it from the faceoff circle, but Kipper has no troubles stopping the shot.
- Rare call as Giordano is called for putting his hand on the puck up high in the Calgary zone.
- The boo birds are out on said powerplay as the Oil have troubles breaking out of their zone.
- Iggy starts pushing Smid around after the whistle. You don’t want to make him angry. He throws some good shots early on, even knocking the bucket off Iggy’s head with one shot. Great tilt by Smid. I would never have expected him to hang in there with Iggy, let along be the winner in the fight. I might be showing a bit of homerism here. It wasn’t all Smid, but I’d say he gets the decision in this one though. Great fight that gets the crowd going .
- Regehr and Staios go at it shortly after. Staios does a good job of hanging in there and fighting someone above his weight class. However, I give that one to Regehr who lands more shots than Staios. This should set the tone for the New Years Eve Battle of Alberta.
- O’Sullivan battles the puck off of Phaneuf, crosschecking him in the back and sets up Stortini who puts it in the net… however there was a penalty on the play for the crosscheck.
- Stone drops them with Johnson. Not much in the way of punches here as the two wrestle it out. Stone pulls off Johnson’s helmet and tackles him to the ice and then throws a couple of shots in.
Not sure what to say on this one. The Oilers played pretty good for at least 50 minutes of play, even doubling the Flames in shots 31-16 at one point in the third. But after the 3rd or 4th goal against, the wind was completely sucked out of the Oilers sails. Credit to Kipper for standing on his head for most of the game.
Well, two good things came of this game: 1) as MetalOil noted, the gap is narrowed with the Hurricanes. 2) Smid had a great fight with Iginla in which he came out the winner.
Next game, Wednesday night at 7:30 on PPV in front of the home crowd vs. the Leafs. This should be called the Battle for Taylor. The Leafs won’t get to enjoy their draft pick though, as it goes to Boston (due to the Kessel trade). But this is a battle of two bottom feeders. I think I’ll find something else to do on Wednesday since it’s PPV.