RECAP: Oilers score eight unanswered goals on way to 8-2 win over Flames
Taylor Hall nets five points and Oilers score three power play goals
GAME RECAP: OILERS AT FLAMES
CALGARY - The game didn't start the way the Oilers had hoped but it sure finished with an impressive flourish.
Calgary raced out to a 2-0 lead but the Oilers, in front of a large contingent of Oilers fans at the Saddledome, scored often as they rallied with eight unanswered goals en route to a 8-2 come-from-behind win over the Flames on Wednesday night.
"Calgary got off to an optimal start. It was a good test for us in this phase of confidence that we're in right now to react to that," stated Oilers head coach Ralph Krueger following the game. "It was a good wake-up call and the reaction was outstanding. We stuck to our game and the power play was a real difference-maker in the second period."
The win vaults the Oilers into the eighth and final playoff spot in the Western Conference for the first time in April since the 2008-09 season.
"It's only two points, we've got to park it," said Krueger, tempering that enthusiasm. "The guys were feeling confident, we know that. Calgary's going through some very difficult situations right now. It's not easy for their coaching staff and not easy for their players. They're redefining themselves. You've got to respect that. It's a tough time and our players stayed hungry. We knew we needed a good third period to get ready for tomorrow and that was our message in the second. It was nothing about running up the score. It was about having good habits and finishing this game properly."
Edmonton also notched their fifth-straight victory -- the league's second-longest active streak behind the San Jose Sharks who have won six in a row.
"It was obviously a big win for us," said Ryan Nugent-Hopkins. "We kept the streak going. It's always nice to beat these guys here. We've just got to keep it going and make sure we're ready to go tomorrow night."
Leading the way for Edmonton on the night was Taylor Hall, who had a goal and four assists. Hall's five-point effort got him to 41 on the season, moving him past Nazem Kadri and John Tavares and into eighth in the NHL scoring race.
"They got a couple goals there early. Credit to us, we really didn't change our game or panic. We just stuck with things and that's us maturing as a team. Getting that second period power play goals, we've really been working and think our power play's important to our success."
The Flames got on the board early in the opening period as the puck bounced to Matt Stajan in the slot. Stajan whacked at a bouncing puck and it found its way past Dubnyk and into the back of the net to make it 1-0 Calgary only 2:25 into the game.
Near the five-minute mark, Mike Brown dropped the gloves with Steve Begin for a quick bout that saw both combatants fall to the ice after some fast punches were exchanged. It was a brief fight but the first seen in the Battle of Alberta in 12 contests.
Less than a minute after the fight, Calgary struck again to double their lead to 2-0. Curtis Glencross's backhand attempt went off the post behind Dubnyk and straight out to Stajan who made no mistake, putting the puck into the open net.
Just before the period's midway point, the Oilers got one back to draw within one. After Lennart Petrell was denied on a chance from in-close by Joey MacDonald, the puck ricocheted around the boards to the right point where Jeff Petry was stationed. Petry teed up a blast and it was tipped by Sam Gagner in front into the net to make it a one-goal game at 2-1.
The Oilers tied the game at 2-2 with 7:01 to play in the opening period after Taylor Hall spotted Ryan Whitney pinching in down at the left faceoff circle. Whitney picked up the puck and wristed a one-timer past MacDonald, who was out of position on the play and trying to scramble back.
Shots on goal after one period were 14 to 4 in favour of the Oilers.
The Oilers started the second period on the power play after a late first-period penalty to Mikael Backlund for face-off violation. Edmontons best chance on the power play came right near the end of it as Jordan Eberle took the puck in the corner and cut to the front of the net. He fired a dangerous shot on net but MacDonald came up with a big stop.
Mike Cammelleri tripped up Nail Yakupov in the neutral zone and was sent off for tripping, giving the Oilers their second power play of the night and this time the Oilers converted.
With time winding down in the penalty, Yakupov himself teed up a blast from the right circle that beat MacDonald and moved the Oilers in front for the first time in the game.
Just past the five-minute mark in the middle frame, Dubnyk skated out to play the puck and it took a wild bounce on him. Backlund looked to have an open net but Dubnyk dove in front. The puck went off either Dubnyk or Whitney in front and bounced out of harm's way.
A minute later, Corey Sarich was sent to the box after crosschecking Magnus Paajarvi into the Flames net, giving the Oilers their third power play of the game. Paajarvi looked a bit shaken up on the play.
On the ensuing man advantage, Taylor Hall got a fortunate bounce as the puck bounced right to him and he simply deposited it into the open net to make it 4-2 Oilers.
The Oilers continued their success on the power play after Jordan Eberle was clipped with a high stick by Chris Butler. Ryan Nugent-Hopkins pounced on a Taylor Hall rebound to score Edmonton's third power play goal of the night to extend the Oilers lead to 5-2.
Midway through the third period, Jordan Eberle picked up a loose puck at the top of the crease and put it in during a goalmouth scramble in front to make it a 6-2 game for Edmonton.
Eberle and Yakupov each added their second of the game in the dying minutes of the third period to give the Oilers an 8-2 lead.