Oilers at Flames
Calgary Flames coach Glen Gulutzan lit a fire under his charges during Monday's practice with an expletive-filled rant that would make many a sailor blush. Gulutzan hopes his liberal use of four-letter words translates into a much-needed victory as the Flames bid to end a seven-game winless skid versus the visiting Edmonton Oilers on Tuesday in the latest installment of the Battle of Alberta.
"We're trying to climb a mountain, we only have to take what we need with us because we're getting close to the top, so we have to drop what we don't need, and make sure we're taking the essentials," Gulutzan said during the clean portion of Monday's practice. The Flames need to locate their offense as the club has mustered just 15 goals during its last seven contests (2-4-1) to drop on the wrong side of the postseason picture in the Western Conference. While Johnny Gaudreau is riding a four-game point streak (one goal, five assists), Edmonton captain Connor McDavid increased his run to seven (six goals, seven assists) by scoring two goals and setting up another as the team collected its third straight win with a 4-1 triumph over Minnesota on Saturday. The reigning Hart Trophy recipient torched the Flames with a hat trick on opening night before setting up a goal in each of the other two encounters, capped by scoring in the third round of the shootout in the Oilers' 4-3 win on Jan. 25.
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ABOUT THE OILERS (30-34-4): Ryan Nugent-Hopkins recorded a goal and an assist against the Wild and has two of each in four games since returning to the lineup following a rib injury. Fellow center Leon Draisaitl also tallied versus Minnesota for his 29th point (12 goals, 17 assists) in his last 27 games and has three assists in three meetings this season with Calgary. The 22-year-old German's tally on Saturday came with the man advantage, but Edmonton's 30th-ranked power play has failed to convert on all seven opportunities this season versus the Flames.
ABOUT THE FLAMES (34-26-10): Matthew Tkachuk, who scored twice against Edmonton on Jan. 25, missed Monday's practice on the heels of the 20-year-old sustaining an apparent head injury following an awkward fall into the boards in Sunday's 5-2 setback to the New York Islanders. Tkachuk was not alone as fellow forwards Sean Monahan (undisclosed) and Mikael Backlund (undisclosed) were also absent, with Gulutzan noting that "they all had maintenance days or they would have been on the ice." Monahan, who leads the NHL in game-winning goals (11) and has a club-best 30 tallies, has been held off the scoresheet in all three games against the Oilers.
1. Edmonton G Cam Talbot, who sports an 8-2-0 career mark versus Calgary, turned aside all 27 shots he faced in a 3-0 win on Oct. 4.
2. Backlund has notched three assists in his last two encounters with the Oilers.
3. Edmonton LW Milan Lucic has scored one goal and set up three others against the Flames this season.