Oilers-Flames Preview

The Associated Press

What's probably surprising about the latest edition of the "Battle of Alberta" is that both the Calgary Flames and Edmonton Oilers enter it off victories.

One of the Western Conference's worst teams will make it two straight Friday night when the Flames try to hand the Oilers a fifth straight road defeat.

Both teams entered a three-day holiday break by ending losing streaks Monday.

Edmonton (12-24-3) snapped a season-high six-game slide with a 6-2 home win over Winnipeg that came on the heels of a 6-0 loss to St. Louis two days earlier that prompted a lengthy post-game team meeting. Taylor Hall had a goal and two assists.

''Overall, it was a way better game than we had against St. Louis,'' Hall said. ''We had a way better start and we seemed to carry that over into the rest of the game.

''That's been our Kryptonite. It seems to be when we get a good start and they get a goal or they tie it up and we kind of get off the rails, but that wasn't the case tonight, we just kept it going.''

The Oilers also ended a 0-for-14 slide on the power play by converting 2 of 8 chances, as Hall and Jordan Eberle tallied.

Calgary (14-17-6) ended a 0-2-2 stretch by rallying for a 4-3 shootout win over the Blues. The Flames trailed 3-1 entering the third period before Michael Cammalleri halved the deficit before Mark Giordano's tying goal on the power play with five seconds left in regulation.

"I felt like we were on a three-game losing streak and I said that we deserve better, you guys deserve better," coach Bob Hartley said.

There's been plenty of drama in the first two games of this classic provincial rivalry.

Edmonton rallied from a two-goal deficit entering the third period for a 4-2 road victory Nov. 16. Hall scored the tying goal with 11 seconds to go in regulation Dec. 7 before the visiting Flames prevailed 2-1 on Jiri Hudler's goal in overtime.

This contest pits the West's worst defenses, with Calgary yielding 3.14 goals per game to rank only ahead of Edmonton's 3.44 mark.

It's a rivalry in which the Calgary-born Hall has amassed 13 points in his last eight games against the Flames.

Calgary has not announced an update on center Matt Stajan, who left Monday's contest after a knee-on-knee collision with David Backes. Winger Curtis Glencross (high ankle sprain) and defenseman Kris Russell (sprained knee) are both out. Russell is second on the team in ice time at 23:39 per game.

The Oilers are beginning a set of back-to-back games as they host Philadelphia on Saturday. Devan Dubnyk is expected to start this contest, and he's 5-1-1 with a 1.86 goals-against average in his last seven starts against Calgary.

Reto Berra made 32 saves Monday for the Flames. He posted a 1.97 GAA while starting both meetings against Edmonton.

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