Oilers drop back-and-forth Battle of Alberta 5-3
|Oilers captain Shawn Horcoff battles for position with Calgary's Robyn Regehr in front of the Flames net. (Photo: Getty Images)
The Oilers kept an edge in everything but shots through most of this back-and-forth Battle of Alberta, but a three goal-push by the Flames in the final frame ensured a different outcome. A late go-ahead goal by Jarome Iginla, plus empty-netter by Alex Tanguay, sealed a 5-3 win for Calgary over Edmonton.
Rookie Magnus Paajarvi
registered his first NHL goal and assist in the game, supplementing markers by Ales Hemsky
and Dustin Penner
. At the other end of the ice, Nikolai Khabibulin
earned third-star honours for his 41-save effort in net.
The Flames dominated the first five minutes of play, swarming Khabibulin and getting four shots on net. But a well-timed dump-in from Ryan Whitney
set up Hemsky deep in Flames territory. Goalie Miikka Kiprusoff left his crease to poke-check the puck, but Hemsky got it back, circled the net, and wrapped it across the line to give the Oilers a 1-0 lead. With the secondary assist, Paajarvi earned his first career NHL point.
Four minutes and one shot later, however, the Flames were even. Near the nine-minute mark, Calgary's Tanguay snuck through the defensive line and broke in on Khabibulin. Tanguay cleanly beat the goalie with a wrister to set the score 1-1.
Shortly after the equalizer, Edmonton benefited from the game's first two power-plays, but Kiprusoff and his penalty killers limited the Oil to only two attempts through the four minutes.
The power-play tables quickly turned. Consecutive slashing and tripping minors to Gilbert Brule
and Tom Gilbert
put the Oilers on the defensive as the period progressed, but although the Flames earned a 10-5 shot advantage, they couldn't convert a goal.
As such, the teams were even to start the second period.
The Oilers got lucky early in the second period, at the expense of a Flame. Only 22 seconds after puck drop, Penner shot wide and watched the puck deflect off Ian White's face and into the net. The go-ahead goal set the score 2-1 and sent White to the locker room leaving a trail of blood.
The lead was short-lived, however. Soon after Brendon Morrison completed a boarding minor, he skated in and fired on Khabibulin. Although the goalie caught the majority of the shot, the puck trickled through his legs and slid across the line to renew the tied game.
In keeping with the theme of the game so far, play swept back in Edmonton's favour. Poised at Kiprusoff's left, Paajarvi caught the puck from Colin Fraser
and attempted to push it past the post. The Flames netminder fell on top of the puck and prompted a whistle, but Oilers insisted it had already crossed the line and celebrated accordingly.
Video review proved Edmonton had it right, and with his first NHL goal and second point, Paajarvi had the Oilers back on top 3-2.
The Flames hit 20 shots at the game's midway point, a feat the Oilers matched near the end of the period, but the extra attempts failed to net extra goals and the 3-2 game progressed into the final frame.
Calgary kept up pressure and cracked 30 attempts -- and three goals -- early in the third. From behind the net, Morrison centered the puck for Niklas Hagman, who fired once and then twice. Khabibulin made the initial save but was unable to stop the rebound, and the game was tied for a third time.
Three minutes later, the Flames took the lead. With Gilbert and Curtis Glencross serving coincidental penalties, and Ladislav Smid
serving an additional holding minor, Iginla concluded an intense stretch of four-on-three with his first of the season.
The go-ahead goal spurred the Flames over the 40-shot mark; the Oilers, meanwhile, hit 30 during a six-man rush in the final minute of regulation. But it wasn't enough to force overtime, and Calgary's Tanguay added an empty-netter just before the buzzer to seal a 5-3 win for the Flames.
|Three star selections