Oilers look for strong start

ROBERT TYCHKOWSKI, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 7:54 PM ET

The Oilers are hoping to start the new year with a bang, not a thud, as they try and put their losing streak to rest against the rival Calgary Flames.

The Flames, trying to salvage their season after replacing GM Darryl Sutter, are coming off a 3-2 New year’s Eve victory over the Colorado Avalanche. They’ve won three in a row to equal their longest win streak of the season.

The Oilers are parked at the other end of the spectrum. A loss tonight would equal their longest winless streak of the season, six games.

“I think we have to come out strong,” said head coach Tom Renney, whose club is 0-3-2 in its last five. “They played last night and obviously they played well. They feel good about themselves and if we allow them to come out and control the game and feel good again we might have a tiger by the tail. We need a really good start

The Oilers players are desperate for some measure of success and figure this is as good a stage as there is to go and get it.

“It’s been a while since we played them and these kind of games tend to bring out the best in both teams,” said Taylor Hall. “Any time it’s Hockey Night in Canada Saturday night it’s always a fun night.

“It’s a big opportunity for our team. We know they’re playing well, and they made a couple of changes in the front office so it should be a good battle.”

Playing at home is supposed to be an advantage in situations like these, but with just six wins in 18 games at Rexall Place, it’s not.

“We can’t dwell on it,” said Renney. “We’re going to dwell on the little things that make us a good team, let the results take care of themselves.

“That’s really the only thing you can pay attention to. If we read too much into it it does become debilitating.

“For us it’s about paying the game our way, properly, the way we think we have to play no matter whether we’re at home or on the road.

“We’ll do that first and foremost and let the results take care of themselves.”

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robert.tychkowski@sunmedia.ca


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