The up and down Edmonton Oilers and Calgary Flames will meet in the Battle of Alberta on Saturday night at the Saddledome. It’s been a topsy-turvy season for both teams, as they’ve enjoyed their share of hot runs, but also cold spells that make you wonder where they are going. This is an important rivalry game that may prove to provide a team with a couple of vital points. With each team playing game No. 47 tonight, the Oilers and Flames are locked up at 24-17-5 with 53 points in the Pacific Division. The whole division is still kind of stuck in neutral, with no one taking it upon themselves to pull away, so the Oilers and Flames are still alive and well in the divisional race.
The Vegas Golden Knights and Arizona Coyotes are only a point ahead with 54 points. There isn’t another team in the division with a better record than that, so the Oilers or Flames could be leading the Pacific by the end of Saturday night. The Coyotes aren’t playing tonight after faltering Friday night in Raleigh. Meanwhile, the Golden Knights have a date with the Columbus Blue Jackets at T-Mobile Arena this early evening out west. If the Blue Jackets get the upset win, then somebody from the Oilers and Flames game will be leading the division. It’s crazy to think considering the ups and downs that the Oilers and Flames have shared this season.
Edmonton and Calgary are in the same state and have been a fairly close copy of one another on the ice in 2019-20. It’s still tough to say where either of these teams are going. The Oilers and Flames have been two of the most unpredictable teams in the NHL over the past few years. Talent wise there is absolutely nothing wrong here, with the Oilers in possession of Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl, while the Flames are good on paper with Matthew Tkachuk, Elias Lindholm, and Johnny Gaudreau to name a few.
McDavid and Draisaitl have been nearly impossible for defences to hold down completely this year. McDavid has made some incredible, jaw dropping plays that require a replay to see what just happened. He leads the NHL with 70 points, and Draisaitl is second with 69 points on the season. If the Oilers can’t reach the playoffs with that kind of production out of two players, then the rest of the team is going to have a long summer ahead of them. There isn’t anything more that McDavid and Draisaitl can do, and what a waste of talent it’ll be if the Oilers aren’t a major threat in a few months. Head below for our free Oilers vs. Flames pick.
Edmonton Oilers vs. Calgary Flames Betting Odds:
Oilers vs. Flames Prediction:
When the Oilers’ offence is rolling, they can be one of the most difficult teams to stop in the NHL. There isn’t a team in the league who will want to play them in the playoffs because of McDavid and Draisaitl. It’s within reason that the Oilers make the playoffs and get as hot as they’ve been playing recently. They’re coming off a 4-2 win over the Oilers and 6-4 win over the Maple Leafs. The 10 goals they’ve scored is part of a massive tear for the playmakers in Edmonton of late. Since a 7-5 win over the Rangers, they’ve gone off for 23 goals in their last five games for an average of 4.6 goals scored.
The Flames have been playing tremendous defensively recently, as they held the Blackhawks and Wild to only a goal in each matchup. However, that’s only two games, and they looked a lot differently against the Hawks and Wild days earlier. Prior to wins of 2-1 over the Wild and Blackhawks, the Flames allowed an average of over 4 goals a game, two games of which were against Minnesota and Chicago.
Overall on the season, the Flames have been serviceable defensively, having allowed 2.96 goals per game. I’m not so sure they’re going to be able to step in front of a red-hot Oilers’ offence right now, though. When the Oilers are hot, they’re typically really hot and don’t allow much to stop their offence. Cam Talbot wants to play against his former team on Saturday, though he might want to be careful what he wishes for.
Edmonton has registered 3.3 goals per game in their previous ten outings. What they’ve done recently has been the most impressive, and I think they can keep it up in this rivalry game in Calgary. The Flames have scored 5 goals in two of their last three meetings with the Oilers, and at least 4 goals in three of five games. Their best chance of success in this game with the Oilers playing as hot as they are is to pressure and take some chances.
Mikko Koskinen is listed as probable for the Oilers in net tonight. He and Mike Smith have proven to be an okay tandem. They haven’t been good, though not especially terrible either. Koskinen owns a 2.85 GAA and 0.912 save percentage in 26 games, while Mike Smith has a 3.01 GAA and 0.90 save percentage. I don’t know if either have it in them to carry the Oilers in the playoffs, but it may not matter if McDavid and Draisaitl put the team on their shoulders. We’ll likely see McDavid and Draisaitl put on another show tonight. Expect this to be a tight 3-3 game late in what should be an entertaining affair in the latest installment of this rivalry in Alberta.