The latest edition of the “Battle of Alberta” will feature two struggling teams.
Calgary (20-12-5) and Edmonton (15-19-4) are both playing poorly, with the Flames 1-4-2 in their last seven games and the Oilers losing every contest in regulation since Dec. 11.
The Flames have scored 13 goals in their last seven games, while the Oilers have totaled 11 during their six-game slide.
Calgary has won all three meetings with its provincial rival in 2009-10, with Miikka Kiprusoff(notes) in net for each of them. Kiprusoff is 7-3-0 with a 2.10 GAA in his last 10 road starts against the Oilers.
It was an inauspicious beginning to a stretch of four games in five nights for Calgary. Asked to identify his biggest areas of concern, coach Brent Sutter fired back with a stern, “none of your business.”
“I have a few concerns that are certainly very noticeable and you can’t hide it,” Sutter said. “It’s got absolutely nothing to do with systems, absolutely nothing. It’s other things that we have to deal with and we’re going to. Whether it’s liked or not, it’s going to be dealt with.”
Jarome Iginla(notes) scored his team-high 20th goal Sunday, but has gone five straight road games without a goal and may be hard-pressed to end that drought in this contest. Iginla has one goal in his last nine games at Edmonton, and has not scored in the last five meetings with the Oilers regardless of the venue.
Poor special teams play is plaguing the Oilers, who have allowed seven power-play goals while scoring none over their last three losses. Edmonton fell 4-1 to Vancouver on Saturday, allowing power-play goals 18 seconds apart in the second period when the Canucks had a 5-on-3 advantage.
“We’ve played well most games and our special teams has been the problem,” captain Ethan Moreau(notes) said. “But I guess that’s fixable, you can work on those things. But you can’t work on energy and preparation, which we’ve done a very good job on.”
Edmonton spent most of Sunday’s practice working on fixing the special teams woes. The Oilers have three goals in their last 35 power-play chances.
“It’s hard to make mistakes when you’re in the rut we are,” said center Ryan Potulny(notes), whose seventh goal was the only Edmonton offense Saturday. “It seems like every mistake we make somehow gets in the back of the net or we make too many mistakes.”
The Oilers haven’t fared well against the Flames’ power play this season, allowing four goals in 10 opportunities. Flames winger David Moss(notes) has three goals in the season series - two on the man advantage.
Edmonton has not lost seven straight since a nine-game skid Feb. 25-March 15, 2007.