SUN Hockey Pool

Gagner: Oilers need intensity

ROBERT TYCHKOWSKI, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 9:56 PM ET

CALGARY — On one hand, this is the last team they want to play right now.

On the other hand, it’s exactly the team they want to play right now.

Playing Calgary has been a bit of a death trap for the Oilers over the last few years, but Edmonton’s best game of the young season did come against the Flames.

So nobody’s sure what to think as the two teams meet for the third time this season.

“If we’re going to be successful we’re going to have to find a way to win in tough rinks and the Saddledome is obviously one of them,” said Sam Gagner. “It’s a huge test.”

The Flames were spanked 4-0 by Edmonton in their first game of the season, and struggled for a while after that, but they’ve been rolling pretty well since. They’ve won four of their last five, including a 6-2 win over Columbus and a pair of shutout wins. Rene Bourque is the NHL’s first star of the week on the strength of six goals, including three game-winners.

“I had a good week,” said Bourque, who scored twice in the 4-0 win over San Jose. “Our team had a good week.”

The Oilers didn’t, losing to San Jose 6-1 to extend their losing streak to four.

“The Flames are coming off a really good game,” said Gagner. “We have to go in there with the intensity high, not feel our way through a game. Just go at it right from the beginning and take it to them.

“They come out really hard in their rink. We have to find a way to weather the storm and push back early. If you feel your way into a game in Calgary they’re going to bite you.”

Head coach Tom Renney knows this will be a more together Calgary team than the one Edmonton split the first two games with.

“They’re starting to hit on something there,” he said. “So we’ve got to make sure we play really good. We need that. We have to make sure that we can tap into what’s required of us.”


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