Following a 1-0 shutout loss to the St. Louis Blues on Thursday, the Oilers followed it up with an equally as disappointing and offensively challenged 60-minute effort against their provincial rivals, dropping a 6-2 score to the Calgary Flames Saturday night at Rexall Place.
Andy Sutton and Ryan Smyth scored the Oilers' lone goals in the third period, but it was a small dent in Calgary's commanding advantage. With the loss, Edmonton drops to an 0-4 record this season in the Battle of Alberta.
Needing to come out with a bang, Ryan Jones did when he crunched Calgary's Cory Sarich into the bench, sending the veteran rearguard head-over-heels into his teammates' laps in the early going.
While the Oilers fed off the momentum, generating several high-quality scoring chances in quick succession, the orange and blue were assessed the game's first penalty when Colten Teubert was charged with high-sticking at 4:45.
The Flames' 18th-ranked man-advantage went to work, but Nikolai Khabibulin was solid, stoning Lee Stempniak and Blair Jones on a pair in-tight opportunities in the slot; he couldn't stop them all, however. Mikael Backlund received a pass just as Teubert's penalty expired, and the sophomore made no mistake in rifling the puck into the gaping cage behind the 39-year-old veteran at 6:48.
Calgary soon extended to a 2-0 advantage when Blake Comeau stopped up at the circle and bulleted a shot through Khabibulin 4:26 later. The Flames' lead and 6-2 edge in shots prompted Head Coach Tom Renney to call a timeout to settle his troops.
It didn't work; at least not yet, anyway. Calgary continued to carry the territorial advantage, which inevitably led to another OIlers penalty when Jones was charged with hooking, putting the Flames' 17.4-percent power-play back to work. The visitors added another shot to their tally, but no further damage could be done the scoreboard.
The Oilers' rough opening period continued at 18:52 when Stempniak got his revenge. The veteran winger took a drop pass and a step to the middle, snapping a mean wrister glove-side on Khabibulin and up-top into the cage's elbow, making it a 3-0 game.
Through 20 minutes, the Flames continued to lead 3-0 and were up 9-7 in shots as the crowd booed the home side to the locker room.
The Oilers had a much better start to the second and, as a result and with the home side having peppered the opposition netminder with three shots early, a power-play chance was generated; shots (and goals) weren't, mind you, as the advantage was squandered.
Moments later at 4:03, Teubert picked up his second high-sticking penalty of the game, giving the visitors another 5-on-4 chance. Khabibulin stood tall, stopping a pair and preventing the Flames' attempt to engineer a four-goal lead.
The penalty box doors continued to swing with 12:26 on the clock, giving the home side another chance to crack the impenetrable Miikka Kiprusoff. The star netminder wasn't assigned a shot, however, which kept the Flames' three-goal lead intact.
The Oilers controlled the pace in the period's latter half, racing end-to-end with nifty offensive plays, but none could be cashed; and it proved detrimental as, with 35.2 seconds to go, Stempniak sniped his second of the night. No. 22 rushed on Ladislav Smid, using the defenceman's stick as a screen (and redirection point), scoring blocker-side on the Flames' 16th shot.
Once again, the Oilers were booed as they marched to the locker room.
Devan Dubnyk came in to replace Khabibulin between the pipes to start the period.
4:24 into the period, the Oilers got on the board. Ryan Smyth and Jordan Eberle combined to orchestrate the pressure, setting up Andy Sutton for a one-timer at the top of the circle. The 36-year-old unreleased a bomb that cleanly beat Kiprusoff to make it a 4-1 game.
The Oilers' fourth line peppered the Flames with a strong sequence to follow it up, but perhaps a little too much aggression was shown, as Darcy Hordichuk was assessed a goaltender interference minor at 6:29. It didn't take long for Calgary to make good, as Jay Bouwmeester tipped a Jarome Iginla point blast off the post, off Dubnyk's skate and into the net to restore the Flames' four-goal advantage.
The Oilers' fifth minor of the game was charged to Teubert (his third) for delay of game as he snapped the puck over the glass at 7:56. This time, the Flames' unrelenting surge was quelled with a successful kill.
Edmonton inched closer with another goal late in the period, as Ryan Smyth redirected home a Jeff Petry point shot to make it a 5-2 game on the Oilers' 21st shot.
The Oilers pulled Dubnyk with 2:20 to play, but the Flames made quick work of the empty net as Stempniak notched his hat trick marker to put his club up 6-2 at 17:55.
With boos raining down on the home side, Calgary cruised to the buzzer with a 6-2 win.
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