Calgary Flames vs. Edmonton Oilers Pick & Prediction JANUARY 20th 2024

The Edmonton Oilers are on the verge of NHL history as they hit the road to play the Calgary Flames on Saturday.

Their 12-game winning streak, with the latest victory a 4-2 comeback decision over the Seattle Kraken on Thursday, has the Oilers tied with the 1967-68 Montreal Canadiens for the longest run by a Canadian-based team.

“We don’t talk about the streak very much, if at all,” Edmonton coach Kris Knoblauch said. “I’m not sure what they talk about when I leave the room, but I don’t think they do. I think what we talk about, we look at, we think about is where we are in the standings.”

Thanks to an amazing run of 23 victories over their last 29 games after winning only two of their first dozen outings of the season, the Oilers have vaulted into third place in the Pacific Division.

Unsurprisingly, Edmonton’s dynamic duo of Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl have seen their games explode during the run that has taken the team from 31st in the league in mid-November to a much-better perch at the midway point.

Draisaitl collected one goal and three assists in the victory over the Kraken. McDavid is riding his second 12-game point-scoring streak in the past 25 outings.

But the Oilers are not prevailing only due to offense. No. 1 goaltender Stuart Skinner has won 19 of 23 starts since the turnaround began — including his past nine — and posted a 2.15 goals-against average and .921 save percentage, indicative of the club’s commitment to defending.

That said, the offensive attack has allowed the Oilers to drum up eight comeback victories during their 12-game run.

“That’s been the theme of this winning streak,” defenseman Mattias Ekholm said. “I think we’ve stayed composed.”

As much as the Flames would love to burst the bubble of their biggest rivals and end that winning spree, they have bigger issues on their mind.

The Flames saw their season-best, four-game winning streak end with a 4-3 home loss to the Toronto Maple Leafs on Thursday, a game in which Calgary surrendered a 2-0 lead.

“Stupid” turnovers, as they were called by coach Ryan Huska, were especially costly against a Maple Leafs team that boasts high-end skill players such as Auston Matthews. The league’s leading goal-scorer ended up with three goals and an assist.

“We’re playing a similar team on Saturday, so I think we’ve got to learn from (the loss), know that the second period, the way we played, turning too many pucks over is going to cost us,” Flames captain Mikael Backlund said.

Though the Oilers are deservedly held in higher regard for their offensive attack, the Flames have their share of players who can score if not held in check. Yegor Sharangovich and Nazem Kadri each scored against Toronto. Sharangovich has seven goals in his past five games, and Kadri is on an eight-game point streak in which he has collected six goals and five assists.

The Flames are well aware that they must shore up their defense against the Oilers’ stars.

“I was garbage all night,” forward Blake Coleman said of his play against Toronto. “I’ll be better this weekend, and I expect everybody else to look in the mirror and be the same.”

There was no word on Friday whether the Flames would have No. 1 goalie Jacob Markstrom back from the lower-body injury that kept him out of the past two games.

–Field Level Media

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