Something Has to Give

The Calgary Flames have struggled in nearly every facet of the game in their last four contests. The Edmonton Oilers haven't looked much better lately.

Each team looks to snap a four-game skid on Saturday when the Northwest Division rivals square off in Calgary.

Oddsmakers from SBG Global have made Calgary -235 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 66% of bets for this game have been placed on Calgary -235 (View NHL Bet Percentages).

The Flames (6-7-3) have been outscored 15-5 during their losing streak. They're averaging 1.3 goals during the skid after scoring 3.5 per contest in their first 12 games. In the four November losses, Calgary has converted only two of its 16 power-play opportunities, while allowing opponents to go 5-for-17 with the man advantage.

On Thursday, Calgary gave up three second-period goals - including two in a span of 16 seconds - in a 3-2 home loss to Vancouver. Anders Eriksson scored one of the Flames' two goals during a rally in the third period, but Calgary couldn't overcome the 3-0 deficit.

"We're beating ourselves," Eriksson said. "We're not playing until we get our backs pushed up against the wall and we have nowhere to go, then we start playing the way we can."

Miikka Kiprusoff was 6-3-3 with a 2.97 goals-against average in October, but has allowed at least three goals in each game of the losing streak while posting a 3.67 GAA in that stretch.

The only thing working for the Flames right now is the play of Jarome Iginla, who's recorded a point in five straight games.

Iginla has 20 goals and 30 assists in his career against the Oilers for his second-highest point total against any team. He has seven points in his last four games against them, including one goal and two assists in the teams' first meeting this season - a 4-1 home win for Calgary on Oct. 20.

That doesn't bode well for the Oilers (5-10-1), who have gone 0-3-1 in their last four games to claim the league's worst record. After three straight regulation defeats, however, Edmonton coach Craig MacTavish was encouraged by a 4-3 shootout loss at Colorado on Wednesday.

"I was thrilled with the way that we played," MacTavish told the Oilers' official Web site. "We had all kinds of opportunity."

Edmonton, which had lost its previous three games by a combined 11-4, had a 3-2 lead after one period Wednesday but was held scoreless the rest of the way to fall to 2-6-1 on the road. Despite the disappointing finish, the Oilers feel like they've taken a step in the right direction.

"Way more positives than negatives to take to Calgary. We created a lot of offensive opportunities out there," said forward Jarret Stoll, who has an assist in three of the last four games after totaling two points in his first 12 contests. "We battled hard, we skated and moved the puck. It was one of those games where we can definitely take a lot of positives."

Edmonton's Dwayne Roloson is 8-14-0 with three ties and a 2.57 GAA in 25 career games against the Flames.

Kiprusoff, meanwhile, has dominated the Oilers. He's 13-5-2 with one tie and two shutouts against them, while posting a 1.75 GAA in those 21 games.

by: Staff Writers - Email Us

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