Flames-Oilers Preview

The Associated Press

After the Calgary Flames and Edmonton Oilers were shut out in their returns from the Olympic break, they have a chance to bounce back against each other.

The Flames can even the season series by recording a third straight road win over the Oilers on Saturday night.

Calgary (22-30-7) has four more points than last-place Edmonton (20-34-7) in the provincial rivals' race to avoid finishing at the bottom of the Western Conference. Though the Flames have dropped two of three this season and six of nine overall to the Oilers, they've allowed one goal each time in winning the last two meetings at Rexall Place.

The Oilers have had their fair share of trouble scoring at home, as Thursday's 3-0 loss to Minnesota marked the fifth time they've been blanked in their own building.

Edmonton and Calgary each have been shut out a league-high eight times overall.

"That's not how we wanted to come back from the break at all. It seemed like there was a lot of rust on our team," said Oilers forward Taylor Hall, who has only two of his 20 goals in his last 13 games. "Whether that was the break or whatever, it doesn't really matter."

Edmonton totaled 17 goals while winning five of six before falling 2-1 in overtime at New Jersey in its final game before the break. The Oilers matched the Wild with 21 shots, but failed on four power-play chances. They went 0 for 17 with the man advantage during their five February contests.

"In terms of our compete level and our energy level, it should've been there and it wasn't," forward Matt Hendricks told the Oilers' official website.

Edmonton's chances of improving offensively could be further hindered if second-year forward Nail Yakupov is out after taking a shot to the leg Thursday. He has a goal and two assists in his previous three games.

Calgary has been blanked twice and held to one goal in another game while losing three of four. The Flames held a 23-13 shot advantage over the first two periods Thursday, but managed two in the third of a 2-0 home loss to Los Angeles.

"It's too bad," said Flames coach Bob Hartley, whose team has allowed two goals in four straight games. "I really liked the effort. I really liked the focus. We did everything right except scoring goals."

Hartley was pleased with the NHL debut of 22-year-old Joni Ortio, who could be back in net after making 22 saves against the Kings. Highly touted forward prospect Markus Granlund recorded two shots in his first NHL action for the Flames on Thursday.

Edmonton's Ryan Smyth handled all the goal scoring in a 2-0 victory at Calgary on Dec. 27, but he has two goals in 21 games since that meeting, the most recent one between the teams.

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