Series (Game 1 of 6)

Calgary leads 6-0

Game 1: Saturday, October 3rd
Game 2: Thursday, October 8th
Game 3: Saturday, October 24th
Game 4: Monday, December 28th
Game 5: Thursday, December 31st
Game 6: Saturday, January 30th

Flames 4

(2-0-0, 4 pts)

Oilers 3

(0-1-0, 0 pts)

Coverage: NHL

10:00 PM ET, October 3, 2009

Rexall Place, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada

1 2 3 T
CGY 2 1 14
EDM 1 1 13

D. Moss (Flames - RW): Goals: 2, Assists: 0

D. Penner (Oilers - LW): Goals: 1, Assists: 1

M. Kiprusoff (Flames - G): Saves: 31, Save Pct.: .912

Flames-Oilers Preview


A late swoon cost the Edmonton Oilers a playoff spot for a third consecutive season in 2008-09. The additions of Pat Quinn and Nikolai Khabibulin could bolster their efforts to return to the postseason.

The Oilers look to get the 2009-10 season off to a strong start Saturday night when they host the Northwest Division rival Calgary Flames.

Edmonton advanced to the 2006 Stanley Cup finals as the eighth seed, losing to Carolina in seven games. The Oilers didn't build on that improbable run, failing to reach the playoffs in each of the next three seasons. They haven't gone four consecutive seasons without a playoff appearance since 1992-96 -- a franchise record.

A season-ending 3-8-0 stretch was a big factor in the Oilers finishing 38-35-9 while coming up six points short last April. That prompted them to fire coach Craig MacTavish and hire Quinn, who hasn't been in the NHL since coaching Toronto from 1998-2006, reaching the Eastern Conference finals twice.

Quinn, a two-time NHL coach of the year, led Canada to a gold medal at the 2009 World Junior Championship in January.

"If I think of leadership, I think of Pat," general manager Steve Tambellini said. "If I think of the way you want to be treated as a player, I think of someone like Pat Quinn. If I think of someone who sets and example morally for an organization of how to go forward, I think of a man like Pat Quinn."

Quinn and Tambellini worked together in Vancouver, when the coach led the Canucks to the 1994 Stanley Cup finals.

"The tradition is very, very important to this organization," Quinn said. "But I'm looking to the future obviously."

Edmonton's biggest move of the offseason was to shore up its goaltending, so the team signed Khabibulin to a four-year, $15 million deal to replace Dwayne Roloson, who joined the New York Islanders.

Khabibulin, 36, led Tampa Bay to its only Stanley Cup in 2004 before spending the next four seasons with Chicago.

He turned in his best season with the Blackhawks in 2008-09, going 25-8-7 with a 2.33 goals-against average and .919 save percentage while helping them reach the West finals.

The four-time All-Star, who will become the 24th goalie to win 300 games with his next victory, saw his stint in Chicago plagued by various injuries.

"I think in the last seven or eight years, I really got it and started taking good care of my body and a lot of workouts in the summer," Khabibulin told the Oilers' official Web site. "I think there's a lot of goalies, especially lately, who have been playing into their 40s. I feel very confident. I still have a lot of years to play left in me and I'm really looking forward to it."

The Oilers also attempted to acquire Dany Heatley from Ottawa to strengthen their offensive play, but the high-scoring left wing used his no-trade clause to block the move before accepting a deal with San Jose.

After failing to land Heatley, Edmonton will again rely on Ales Hemsky, who has led the Oilers in scoring in each of the last four seasons. The right wing had a career-high 23 goals with 43 assists last season, getting one goal and three assists in five games against the Flames.

The Oilers went 3-2-1 against their provincial rivals last season and hold a 4-1-1 advantage in the last six meetings at Rexall Place.

Calgary is looking for its first 2-0-0 start since 2001-02 after Miikka Kiprusoff made 39 saves and five players scored in Thursday's 5-3 win over Vancouver.

Coach Brent Sutter, however, wasn't happy with the Flames' play after getting out to a 3-0 lead in the first 11:52. They allowed the Canucks to pull within one during the third period before Dion Phaneuf secured the win with an empty-net goal with 1:03 remaining.

"I'm not sitting here and doing handstands and thinking we played a great game, but we played a pretty darned good game for 38 minutes," Sutter said. "We backed off, and that's where we have to continue to work and push.

"Our goalie played very well. It's two points and it's a good win. There's work to be done."