Posted April 13, 2013 on AP on Fox
The Edmonton Oilers have more at stake this weekend than winning their first season series in four years against the rival Calgary Flames. Hoping to avoid falling further out of playoff contention, the Oilers can snap a four-game skid with a third consecutive victory over the visiting Flames on Saturday night. While Calgary (15-21-4) almost certainly will miss the playoffs for a fourth straight season, Edmonton (16-17-7) needs to make one final push to reach the postseason for the first time since losing to Carolina in the 2006 Stanley Cup finals. The Oilers are 12th in the Western Conference, six points behind Detroit for the eighth and final playoff spot. "We all know there are no points to give any more,'' Oilers coach Ralph Krueger said after Wednesday's 3-1 home loss to Phoenix. "We aren't going to give up on this. We're not going to speak that language or allow it in the room. "Now we are in a position where we are going to need some help from other teams and some things are going to have to happen. We just have to take care of what we can still take care of.'' The Oilers have been outscored 13-3 in the last four contests following a season-high five-game winning stretch in which they held a 25-7 scoring advantage. Edmonton's two most recent victories came against the Flames, the latest 8-2 at Calgary on April 3. Winners of four of five over Calgary, the Oilers outscored the Flames 12-3 in the two meetings since a 4-3 loss at the Saddledome on Jan. 26. Edmonton last won a season series over its provincial rival in 2008-09. "I believe every game against Calgary is an individual special event," Krueger said. "The importance of that game is there, winning the series would be an exciting thing. For us, it's more about getting our winning feeling back. We know we're going to have to work for it. They're going to react to how we played in Calgary and come very, very angry to our building." Edmonton's Taylor Hall recorded a career-high five points (four assists) while Jordan Eberle scored twice and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins added a goal with three assists at Calgary this month. However, that trio has been held without a point in the last four games after combining for 12 goals and 20 assists during the five-game winning streak. Those three also have totaled six goals with 13 assists versus Calgary in 2013. The Flames, who snapped a 13-game road skid with a 3-1 win at Colorado on Monday, bounced back from a 4-1 loss to Vancouver on Wednesday with a 3-2 overtime victory over Phoenix on Friday. Defenseman Mark Giordano scored with 23.1 seconds left in the extra period and added an assist. "As players, we want to win, we're not worried about anything else,'' Giordano said. "It (is bad) going home after a game and thinking about all the mistakes you made in a loss.'' Lee Stempniak had a goal to extend his point streak to four games (goal, three assists). He has four goals and four assists in his last four versus Edmonton. It's likely Calgary will be without forward Alex Tanguay, who was helped off the ice after suffering a leg injury Friday. Edmonton forward Ales Hemsky, meanwhile, will miss at least three games with a foot injury.
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