The Edmonton Oilers have seen their back end exposed due to injury, as defenseman Adam Larsson was placed on injured reserve on Friday one day after workhorse goaltender Cam Talbot (upper body) traveled that same route as well. The Oilers look to adjust to a lot of moving parts as well as rebound from a late own goal on Saturday when they make the trek to Calgary to face the Flames in the latest installment of the Battle of Alberta.
Larsson (22:30 average ice time) was a late scratch prior to Thursday’s game with an upper-body injury, and the 25-year-old Swede watched helplessly as fellow defenseman Kris Russell turned and accidentally fired a shot past an unsuspecting Laurent Brossoit. “It was a bounce. I turned to try and battle it out and obviously you know what happened,” Russell said after Edmonton dropped a 6-4 decision to Toronto for its seventh loss in 11 outings (4-6-1). Calgary, on the other hand, posted its ninth win in 14 outings (9-4-1) on Thursday as Mike Smith flustered his former team with 28 saves in a 3-0 win over Arizona. Smith, however, will need to keep his eyes fixated on Connor McDavid as the reigning Hart Trophy winner recorded a hat trick in the Oilers’ 3-0 win over the Flames on Oct. 4.
TV: 10 p.m. ET, CBC, Sportsnet
ABOUT THE OILERS (10-14-2): The schedule may have said that it was a day off for Edmonton, but the team certainly was busy with transactions. With Larsson headed to injured reserve, the Oilers recalled fellow defenseman Ryan Stanton from Bakersfield of the American Hockey League and claimed Australian forward Nathan Walker from Washington. All is not doom and gloom in Edmonton as top-pair defenseman Andrej Sekera reportedly is nearing a return as he recovers from knee surgery.
ABOUT THE FLAMES (14-10-1): Calgary has been patient with Mark Jankowski, and its reward came on Thursday as the 21st overall pick of the 2012 draft scored twice to end a seven-game skid without a point. While the 23-year-old admitted he was happy to contribute and even shied away from reveling in his highlight-reel goal, coach Glen Gulutzan told reporters that he’s thrilled with what he’s seen. “We like to keep him hungry so we’re going to let him stay in the hotel for a while,” Gulutzan said. “I’ve watched enough young players. I don’t see him going anywhere.”
1. Edmonton C Mark Letestu scored a goal and set up two others on Thursday, increasing his point total to nine (three goals, six assists) in his past nine games.
2. The Flames have extinguished 18 of their last 20 short-handed opportunities.
3. Oilers C Leon Draisaitl, who resides one assist shy of 100 for his career, set up a pair of goals in the season opener versus Calgary.
PREDICTION: Oilers 3, Flames 2