2009 closes with 2-1 loss to Calgary
|Calgary's Daymond Langkow battles for position in front of the Edmonton net during the New Year's Eve Battle of Alberta Thursday night. The Flames went on to win 2-1. (Photo by Terence Leung/NHLI via Getty Images)
by Jen Sharpe | edmontonoilers.com
Despite being significantly outshot by the Flames, the Oilers held on for nearly 40 full minutes before Craig Conroy lit the lamp with only 10 seconds left in the middle frame. The goal was the first of two for Calgary, which would be enough for a 2-1 New Year's Eve win over Edmonton.
didn't get the win or even a star, but with a 37 save performance the Oilers goalie kept his club in the game. Shawn Horcoff
scored Edmonton's lone marker.
The final game of 2009 was evenly-matched through the first 10 minutes as both the Oilers and Flames tallied eight shots on goalies Curtis McElhinney and Jeff Deslauriers
. A pair of excellent scoring chances highlighted the stretch, but broken sticks, close deflections, and big saves stretched the scoreless game.
Calgary controlled the play in the latter half of the frame and came within inches of getting the opener, but Brandon Prust's wrister pinged Deslauriers' right post and narrowly missed the other one before flying back out into play.
Near the 15-minute mark, Lubomir Visnovsky blocked a shot from Jarome Iginla with his left foot. Although the Oilers defenceman appeared on the ice shortly thereafter, he headed to the locker room before the period was out and would not return to the game.
Finding themselves down 15 shots to nine, the Oilers benefited from the game's first powerplay when Dion Phaneuf tripped up Denis Grebeshkov, but the Visnovsky-less man-advantage sputtered, concluding a scoreless first period.
Early in the middle frame, Steve Staios took a tripping minor and the Flames debuted their powerplay unit. The red-coats added three shots to their tally in the two minutes, but Deslauriers turned each one away.
Calgary topped 22 shots near the game's midway point, but spectacular glove snags from Deslauriers diffused the home attack. At the other end of the ice, Edmonton had registered only one second-period attempt on McElhinney.
With four minutes left on the clock, Rene Bourque was assessed a hooking minor but the Flames outlasted the two minutes. Unfortunately, the Oilers couldn't do the same after the return of five-on-five. With only 10 seconds on the clock, Craig Conroy went top shelf on Deslauriers to give Calgary a 1-0 lead heading into the final frame.
The Flames cracked 30 shots early in the third while the Oil stayed stalled at 16. An interference minor to Sheldon Souray
gave Calgary the edge at 9:29, and only 37 seconds into the powerplay, it paid off. While screening Deslauriers, Curtis Glencross caught a piece of Mark Giordano's slapshot and tipped it into the net to double Calgary's lead.
Two minutes after the goal, Edmonton got the chance to cut their deficit in half when Bourque was called for roughing. Although the Oil broke 20 shots on the man-advantage, they couldn't break McElhinney.
With 1:40 left in regulation, the Oilers pulled Deslauriers and opted for six skaters, and the tactic paid off: only 19 seconds later, Shawn Horcoff
busted McElhinney's quest for a perfect game and got the visitors back within one.
But that's as close as they would come. The Flames held on through the final minute to close out 2009 with a 2-1 win over the Oilers.
|Three star selections