Late goal by Huselius lifts Flames to win
The game was a see-saw affair from beginning to end, thrilling the crowd as both sides showed that they belong in the elite class of the NHL. It was a fitting end to the 2005 calendar year, though 2006 will certainly see some more epic battles between the two clubs.
The first scoring chance of the game went to the Oilers as Fernando Pisani fed Ethan Moreau alone in the slot on a two-on-one. However, Moreau couldn't get a handle on the puck to get a shot away.
Edmonton faced some adversity early on, with Calgary on a two-man advantage for 1:23 and they capitalized. Andrew Ference put the puck on net and Daymond Langkow was standing in front to bang the rebound behind Markkanen.
The Oilers registered their first shot on goal midway through the first when Horcoff fired one from the right slot. Kiprusoff made the save but Horcoff almost potted one when he picked up the rebound and attempted a wraparound.
Shean Donovan, who ended a 34-game scoreless drought last game against Minnesota, scored again tonight, one-timing a pass from Chris Simon and beating Markkanen five-hole.
Edmonton stormed right back on the attack. Jarret Stoll ripped a shot that Kiprusoff had to be sharp in stopping. Later on that same shift, Raffi Torres wristed one right under the crossbar to make it a 2-1 game as the Oilers responded 29 seconds after Donovan's goal.
Before time expired in the period, the Oilers scored again to tie it up. Marc-Andre Bergeron shot a laser from the point that hit a Calgary defender in front and found its way behind Kiprusoff.
At one point in the first, shots were 6-0 Calgary but the Oilers stormed back and ended up outshooting the Flames 9-8 in the period.
The Flames carried a territorial advantage in the early portion of the second period with a 7-1 shot edge eight minutes into the middle frame.
The team's best scoring chance came when Chuck Kobasew picked up the puck in the corner and walked in front. He tried to stuff it in short side but Markkanen kept his skate against the post.
Much like the Oilers in the opening period, Calgary ran into some penalty trouble midway through the second. First, Andrew Ference was ticketed for boarding followed by an interference call on Bryan Marchment.
On the ensuing two-man advantage, Jarret Stoll teed up a shot from the left point that beat Kiprusoff glove side.
However, the lead was shortlived as just before the Marchment penalty expired, Shean Donovan and Matthew Lombardi broke down the ice on a two-on-one. Donovan fed Lombardi, who deked out Markkanen and neatly backhanded it in for a shorthanded marker.
The second period ended with the game still tied, this time 3-3. Shots in the second were 11-9 for Calgary, 19-18 in the game overall.
18 seconds into the third period, Shean Donovan took a pass from Jason Wiemer in the slot and cut across the net, roofing it over a sprawled Markkanen for his second goal of the night.
It didn't take Edmonton long to tie the game. At the 2:02 mark with Jarome Iginla in the box, Ales Hemsky wristed one low that Kiprusoff had trouble handling. Smyth was in the crease and able to jam it in to tie the game at 4-4.
With Ales Hemsky in the box, the Flames struck again to take a 5-4 lead. Andrew Ference wired a shot that beat Markkanen but rang off the crossbar. Daymond Langkow was standing in the crease where he batted in the rebound.
Midway through the period, Cory Cross made an outstanding defensive play to knock the puck away from Lombardi on a three-on-two. The play went back the other way where Michael Peca rang a shot off the post after Kiprusoff had trouble handling a rebound.
The Oilers had a great opportunity to tie the game with 7:25 left after penalties to Bryan Marchment and Andrew Ference put them on a two-man advantage for a minute and a half.
Calgary was able to kill off the first penalty, but Ales Hemsky scored on a wrister from the right faceoff dot that beat Kiprusoff five-hole. The goal made it a 5-5 game.
NOTES: Tony Amonte was a scratch for the Flames due to injury, along with Stephane Yelle, Roman Hamrlik and Rhett Warrener. Darren McCarty drew back into the lineup after missing a series of games with a hip injury... Cory Cross drew back into the lineup tonight for Edmonton with Matt Greene headed back to the press box.