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Similar Challenge

The Edmonton Oilers kept their playoff hopes alive in their last game with a win over the Calgary Flames, one of nine teams ahead of them in the Western Conference.

Three days later, they face the exact same challenge.

Edmonton hosts Calgary on Tuesday, needing to defeat its Northwest Division rival a second time in four days to stay alive in the race for the West's final playoff spot.

Oddsmakers from Sportsbook.com have made Calgary -105 money line favorites (NHL Odds) for today's game, the over/under has been set at 5.5 goals (Matchup). Current public betting information shows that 56% of bets for this game have been placed on Edmonton -105 (View NHL Bet Percentages).

The Oilers (40-34-6) are last in the Northwest with 86 points, but with two games to play, can still qualify for the postseason for the first time since their run to the Stanley Cup finals in 2005-06.

To do that, they'll need to win both of their remaining games. Edmonton enters play Tuesday with 86 points, two behind eighth-place Vancouver and one back of ninth-place Nashville. The Oilers' final game is in Vancouver on Thursday night.

First up for Edmonton is the finale in its season series with Calgary (40-29-10). The Oilers trailed the Flames 1-0 in the third period Saturday, but Denis Grebeshkov tied it and Dustin Penner's power-play goal midway through the third was the winner in a 2-1 victory.

"It's pretty special,'' Penner said of his team-leading 23rd goal. "It's one of those goals you look back on. We'll see how it turns out. We've got two more games, then maybe I'll be able to talk (more) about that one after."

Edmonton's Dwayne Roloson had been struggling prior to the game in Calgary, going 3-2-1 in his last six starts but posting a 3.80 goals-against average. The Oilers scored 26 goals in those six contests, but when they were relatively quiet offensively Saturday, Roloson stepped up with 32 saves.

Only two Western Conference teams have more goals than Edmonton's 231, a number the Oilers have achieved with balance. Eleven Edmonton players have at least 10 goals.

Right wing Ales Hemsky, who leads the team with 71 points, assisted on both goals Saturday. He has two goals and four assists in his last four games against the Flames.

Calgary is in seventh place in the West, and while it can't earn home-ice advantage in the first round, picking up points in its final three games could help it avoid an opening matchup with league-leading Detroit or red-hot San Jose. The Flames trail sixth-place Colorado by one point.

Calgary, though, has lost three of four, scoring just six goals in those games.

While the Oilers haven't played since Saturday, the Flames traveled to Vancouver on Sunday. They led 2-1 near the end of the first period, but didn't score again in a 6-2 loss.

"It has to bother you,'' coach Mike Keenan said. "If it doesn't bother you at this point, then you don't have much of a passion for winning. Our defensive zone coverage was real poor down low.''

Miikka Kiprusoff, whose 38 wins are third most in the NHL, was pulled midway through the second period.

Jarome Iginla's next goal will give him his first season with 50 since 2001. The West's goal leader, however, hasn't scored in the Flames' last three losses, and Calgary is 14-23-7 when Iginla doesn't record a goal.

Iginla has two goals and five assists against Edmonton this season.

The Oilers lead the season series 4-3.

by: Staff Writers - Email Us

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