The Oilers have won a season-high three straight but have endured recent problems against the Flames, who are trying to end the longest road losing streak in franchise history as they continue to adjust to life without Jarome Iginla in Monday night’s opener of a home-and-home set.
It will be the first time since the mid-1990s this provincial rivalry won’t feature Iginla, an Edmonton native who totaled 82 points against his hometown club. Krueger, however, is mindful of the fact the Flames (13-16-4) have won 10 of the last 12 meetings, including a 4-3 home victory Jan. 26 in the lone 2013 matchup.
“These games, especially between Edmonton and Calgary, have a special dynamic to them that players will be missing or players won’t be missing and it seems to all be gone, and they’re one-goal games,” the first-year coach said. “We’re expecting one-goal games here against Calgary, we’re expecting real hard battles.”
Edmonton (14-13-7) seeks its first four-game win streak since a six-game run Oct. 22-Nov. 3, 2011. The Oilers are brimming with confidence after Taylor Hall set a franchise record with the fastest hat trick to start a game at 7:53 in Saturday’s 4-0 victory over Vancouver.
Hall beat the old mark of 12:38 set by Wayne Gretzky in 1986.
“It’s a pretty special moment that I will never forget,” said Hall, who has eight points in a four-game run. “Playing in an organization like this one, the records you are trying to break have been set by pretty legendary players.”
Hall has made a minimal impact in the ‘Battle of Alberta’ with four points in eight games. With the Oilers in contention for a playoff spot, he knows they must pick up points against the Flames - who host Wednesday’s rematch.
“We’ve won three games in a row for the first time this year, we need to make it four,” Hall told the Oilers’ official website. “We need to keep winning. We’re still not in the playoffs yet.
“Games against Calgary - we play them back-to-back - if we had two wins here it would be huge for our team.”
The Flames insist they won’t be pushovers as they try to end a 0-9-1 road slide that includes eight straight regulation defeats. They had their eight-game home win streak snapped with Friday’s 6-4 loss to Columbus.
“We know the rivalry between the two teams,” coach Bob Hartley told the Flames’ official website. “I think that we’re going to see a great game and we want to come out flying and they certainly want to do the same. Let’s drop the puck.”
Lee Stempniak had a goal and two assists to lead the Flames in the first meeting while Miikka Kiprusoff made 17 saves to improve to 15-2-0 with a 2.43 goals-against average in his last 17 starts against the Oilers.