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7:00 PM PT8:00 PM MT9:00 PM CT10:00 PM ET3:00 GMT11:00 8:00 PM MST10:00 PM EST7:00 UAE (+1)22:00 ETNaN:� BRT, November 17, 2018
Scotiabank Saddledome, Calgary, Alberta  Attendance: 19,289

Flames, Oilers meet in Battle of Alberta

Edmonton Oilers at Calgary Flames

  1. The Oilers beat the Canadiens, 6-2, at home on Tuesday, snapping a four-game losing streak and setting a new season high in goals. Last season, they scored at least six goals nine times, tied for fourth most in the league.
  2. Connor McDavid didn't score any of Edmonton's six goals, but he assisted on three of them. Since 2016-17, McDavid has seven games with zero goals and at least three assists; only Ryan Getzlaf (eight) has more.
  3. This is the first meeting between these Alberta rivals. Calgary has won the last two matchups, both in Calgary, but the Oilers had won seven in a row prior to that. The last two meetings averaged a total of three combined goals per game, while the previous seven averaged over seven combined goals per game.
  4. The Flames fell to the Canadiens, 3-2, at home on Wednesday, their third loss in their last four games. They were outscored 2-0 in the third period, just the fifth time all season they've been outscored in the final frame. Their +14 differential in the third still ranks best in the league.
  5. Matthew Tkachuk scored both of Calgary's goals in the loss to Montreal, giving him a team-leading 21 points (9g, 12a). The two goals snapped a two-game pointless streak, the only time this season he's had back-to-back games without a point.
  6. The Oilers have 10 goals in the first two minutes of any period, tied with Toronto for the most in the NHL. Meanwhile, Calgary has 12 goals that have come in the final two minutes of any period, tied with four other teams for the most in the league.

CALGARY, Alberta -- Intense rivalries often bring out the best in athletes.

That's what fans will be hoping for when the Calgary Flames (10-8-1) host the first installment of the Battle of Alberta against the Edmonton Oilers (9-8-1) at the Scotiabank Saddledome on Saturday night.

"Obviously it's exciting playing against those guys," said Flames forward Johnny Gaudreau. "It's a good tradition playing against those guys. They get excited for those games and so do we. It's going to be a lot of fun and we're really looking forward to it."

Gaudreau will be looking to snap out of a personal four-game scoreless streak, while also helping the Flames rebound from their second straight setback, a 3-2 loss to the visiting Montreal Canadiens on Thursday night.

"I think our line has had a lot of good chances here in the past two, three games, and they're just not dropping in right now for us," said Gaudreau, who is tied with linemates Sean Monahan and Elias Lindholm at 19 points for second in scoring on the Flames (behind Matthew Tkachuk's 21 points). "We've got to roll with the punches here and they'll start coming."

While the Flames lost to Montreal on Thursday, the Oilers skated to a convincing 6-2 win over the Canadiens two nights earlier in Edmonton.

Now, after a short rest and a couple days of practice, the Oilers are ready for their first game against a Pacific Division foe this season.

"The Battle of Alberta definitely gets you wound up and gets you going," said Oilers coach Todd McLellan. "Any time you play a rival -- it doesn't matter if it's Alberta or in Ontario or in another league or another sport -- the fans get excited about it and the players get excited about it. Both teams are improving and pushing for a playoff spot.

"I know it's very early in the year, but these games become vitally important as they add up throughout the season. Our group will be excited about going there."

Since the Oilers also play at home on Sunday against the Vegas Golden Knights (8-10-1), McLellan has opted to start backup goalie Mikko Koskinen against the Flames before bouncing right back with netminder Cam Talbot the next night.

"Two games, we're at home and we're on the road," McLellan said. "One team went to the Stanley Cup Finals last year and the other team is a rival. We just decided that we would play Mikko on the road to experience the rivalry and Talbs at home in the back-to-back."

Although Flames bench boss Bill Peters announced on Friday that goaltender David Rittich will get the start against the Oilers, he added that he won't be afraid to go back to Mike Smith, who let in the game-winning goal through his legs in the third period on Thursday to Montreal forward Artturi Lehkonen.

"We're going to keep putting him in there when the time is right and away you go," said Peters of Smith. "He'll get another chance and when you get the chance, seize the opportunity."

Rittich made 21 saves for his first NHL shutout against the Kings in Los Angeles in his last start last Saturday.

"I feel good, but it's another game and you have to be prepared for it," said Rittich, who has a 5-1-0 record to go with a 1.91 goals-against average and a .935 save percentage. "What happened last game, it happened. Everyone in our locker room has to be prepared for another game. It's going to be a great atmosphere here and we want to win."

In a one-for-one deal that was announced on Friday, the Oilers acquired Ryan Spooner from the New York Rangers in exchange for fellow forward Ryan Strome.

Updated November 16, 2018

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