|Lubomir Visnovsky congratulates Mathieu Garon on a 33-save winning performance, his third of the young season. Photo by Andy Devlin/Edmonton Oilers Hockey Club.|
Steve MacIntyre's fight -- his first regular season NHL battle -- completely changed the game's momentum Saturday night. Following the fight, the Oilers posted three unanswered goals for a 3-2 come-from-behind victory over the Flames, a sweep of the two-game Battle of Alberta, and a 4-0 start to the 2008-09 season.
Fired up from their 4-3 defeat the previous night, the Flames came out on the offensive, firing the game's first three shots on Oilers netminder Mathieu Garon. A slashing penalty to Fernando Pisani did little to help the home team, and Calgary benefited from a man-advantage.
1:37 into the power play, Todd Bertuzzi prematurely ended Pisani's penalty box stint with a snap shot from just outside the crease at 4:17.
Two minutes later, the Oilers earned a power play of their own but were unable to beat Miikka Kiprusoff for the equalizer.
Edmonton's special teams continued to struggle in the latter half of the period as back-to-back Oilers infractions kept pressure on penalty killers. Less than a minute into a too-many-men bench minor, Flames forward Daymond Langkow tallied their 13th shot and increased their lead with a second power play goal.
Although Garon resisted shots from the Flames forwards, the puck slipped through his pads and towards the goal-line. Defender Jason Strudwick swiped the puck away from the line, but the disc rebounded off Garon's back and into the net to put Calgary up 2-0 after 20 minutes of play.
Five minutes of back-and-forth even-strength hockey came to a grinding halt when Oilers bruiser Steve MacIntyre crushed Dustin Boyd behind the Flames net. Brandon Prust pounced on MacIntyre for the check, and both players dropped their gloves to duke it out.
A swift uppercut from MacIntyre brought his first NHL regular season fight to an end, and because Prust earned an extra two minutes for instigating, the Oilers went on the power play.
Though the club was unable to score on the five-on-four, Edmonton was energized by the battle, and at 8:16 Captain Ethan Moreau translated that intensity into his team's first goal of the game with a wrist shot from the slot.
But Moreau's line wasn't through with Kiprusoff. At 10:38, the puck passed from the Captain, behind the net to Pouliot at the corner of the net, and then to Pisani out front. Pisani completed the 360-degree play with a goal that surprised Calgary's goalie.
Though the Oilers continued to trail the Flames on the shot clock, Andrew Cogliano ensured a third unanswered goal was in the cards. After cutting his way through Flames defenders and into the slot, the young center stretched to corral the puck and release a shot -- an attempt that was destined for the top corner of the visiting net.
By the end of the productive middle frame, the Oilers had assumed a 3-2 lead and climbed to within six shots of the Flames.
A breakaway for Robert Nilsson and fourth power play for the Oilers highlighted the first five minutes of the third, but Kiprusoff squashed both opportunities to keep his club within one.
Calgary broke the 30-shot mark with seven minutes left in the game, and at the three-minute mark, minors to Erik Cole and Jarome Iginla forced two minutes of four-on-four. But the penalties came and went without a goal, and though the Flames opted for six skaters in the final 30 seconds, the Oilers resisted a final assault to secure a 3-2 victory and stay unbeaten this regular season.