Flames-Oilers Preview

Associated Press  |  Last updated January 20, 2012
The Calgary Flames have been relatively successful of late despite generating little offense. That trend could continue with a game against the Edmonton Oilers up next. Calgary looks to extend its longest winning streak against archrival Edmonton on Saturday night when it faces an Oilers club that has struggled badly to score over the past two weeks. The Flames (22-20-6) scored one goal in regulation for the fourth straight game Thursday but prevailed 2-1 in a shootout at Los Angeles. Despite the lack of offense, Calgary has gone 2-1-1 in that span. That's due largely to Miikka Kiprusoff, who posted a 1.19 goals-against average in starting those four contests and has led the Flames to a 4-1-1 mark in their last six with a 1.46 GAA. The veteran stopped 31 shots against the Kings. Kiprusoff may be in net again as Calgary seeks its fourth win in as many games against Edmonton this season. He's allowed four goals in those contests and beat the Oilers 3-0 with 21 saves in the most recent meeting Dec. 10 at home. The Flames have won eight in a row and 15 of 16 in the series. They've taken three straight and six of seven at Rexall Place, and can tie a team record for consecutive road victories against their Alberta neighbors that was established April 12, 2002-Oct. 25, 2003. "We go back up to cold weather (Edmonton) and we've got to do the same thing up there," coach Brent Sutter said. "We have a certain way we have to play. ... It allows us to have success when we do it the right way, and again you need goaltending and Kipper's gonna be there for us." The presence of Kiprusoff in goal could make things even worse for the Oilers (17-25-4). They've managed six goals in their last six games and are coming off a 1-0 loss at St. Louis on Thursday. Edmonton was outshot 38-15 and gave up Alex Pietrangelo's goal with 5:14 left, losing for the seventh time in eight contests. The Oilers are 9-23-2 since a six-game winning streak Oct. 22-Nov. 3. The lone bright spot for Edmonton was Nikolai Khabibulin, who made 37 saves - 19 in the opening 20 minutes. "For some reason, it looked like we were a step behind from the start of the game," Khabibulin said. "I think it's fair to say we got outplayed in the first period. But we survived it and I thought that second period we played pretty well." Khabibulin gave up 10 goals in the last two matchups with Calgary and has posted a 3.98 GAA in his last five games against them. Jarome Iginla scored his 502nd goal for the Flames on Thursday, tying him with Joe Mullen for 40th place on the career list and putting him within one of Peter Bondra's total. Iginla has seven goals and five assists in his last five games versus the Oilers, and his 46 assists in the series are his most against any team while his 34 goals are tied for his best total. Edmonton left wing Taylor Hall, who has 15 goals, missed his second straight game Thursday after sustaining a scary 30-stitch cut near his eye in the pregame warmup Tuesday in Columbus. Hall, listed as day to day, says he's hoping to play Saturday but is having trouble seeing and his status is uncertain. Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, who followed Hall as the top overall draft pick in 2011, remains out with a shoulder injury.
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