The famed Battle of Alberta has recently gone through some lean years, with its two rivals, the Calgary Flames and Edmonton Oilers, unable to remain competitive in the Western Conference standings.
That seems to be trending in the other direction now, at least if the first half of the season is any indication. The Oilers are third in the Pacific Division with 51 points and it certainly helps having 20-year-old phenom Connor McDavid in your lineup to build around.
The Flames hold a Wild Card spot and are just three points back of the Oilers.
Lots of hockey remaining, obviously, but one of hockey’s more bitter rivalries from past years seems to have been re-energized over these last few months.
The Oilers will enter this game without defenseman Adam Larsson, who won’t play tonight because of a lower-body injury, the club stated this afternoon.
Larsson isn’t known for his point production or his flash.
He has just two goals and eight points in 44 games this season, and he’s basically the complete opposite of Taylor Hall, who the Oilers traded to New Jersey in order to land Larsson and bolster their blue line.
“He can play 25 minutes a night quite comfortably, and he has a lot of experience for a young defenseman,” said head coach Todd McLellan.
“He defends first, he’s positionally sound, solid stick, but the physicality part of it is something that was underestimated by me. I didn’t think he would be as aggressive as he’s been. That’s been a welcome addition to our back end.”
Related: How much has the Hall-Larsson trade helped Edmonton?