Lee Stempniak recorded a goal and two assists as the Calgary Flames burned the Edmonton Oilers 4-3 Saturday night at the Scotiabank Saddledome.
Just 50 seconds in, Jordan Eberle engineered a fantastic scoring for Justin Schultz. The rookie blueliner got the puck all alone in the slot, but his high wrist shot was blocked by the challenging Miikka Kiprusoff.
Calgary came right back the other way as Flames rookie Sven Baertschi barged up the middle, but a perfectly timed sweep check by Ladislav Smid knocked the puck to safety.
Back-and-forth they went. Eberle and Taylor Hall then burst up ice on a clearcut 2-on-1 opportunity, but No. 14's cross-ice pass was broken up and the play was derailed.
At 5:16, the Flames took a 1-0 lead. As the puck pinballed around the crease area, Jeff Petry was unable to clear it. On a desperate second effort, Mikael Backlund punched it across the line for the goal.
42 seconds later, the Flames went to the power-play as Eberle was assessed a holding minor. Without allowing a single shot, however, the Oilers came up with a big kill.
As the midway point approached, Nick and Justin Schultz got their wires crossed defensively and gave up a partial 2-on-0 chance for the Flames. Fortunately for the Oilers, Jarome Iginla's centering pass was out of Alex Tanguay's reach and the 1-0 game remained.
With 7:38 on the clock, Darcy Hordichuk was charged with a questionable cross-checking call. As a result, Calgary's fourth-best power-play (4-for-11 coming in) went back to work. Just as the penalty expired and Hordichuk was racing back into the play, a long-range wrist shot by Jay Bouwmeester squeaked through the wickets of Devan Dubnyk and across the line for a 2-0 Flames lead.
Late in the period, ex-Oiler Curtis Glencross steamrolled Dubnyk and was sent off for goaltender interference. Four seconds into the power-play, Justin Schultz wired a wrist shot on net -- the puck eluded everyone's grasp en route, bouncing across the line to pull the Oilers back in the game.
At 19:19. Fitting, wouldn't you say?
With 20 minutes in the books, Calgary led 2-1 on the scoreboard and was in possession of a 13-10 edge in shots.
The Oilers nearly brought the game back on even terms three-and-a-half minutes in as Eberle, Hall and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins orchestrated a 3-on-2 chance to (near) perfection. RNH's shot handcuffed Kiprusoff, but the veteran netminder squeezed it hard enough to keep it out.
On the ensuing faceoff, the Flames turned it back the other way and restored their two-goal edge. A centering pass by Iginla was kicked out into the slot by Dubnyk, and Glencross was quick to pounce on the rebound by sliding it into the empty cage.
At 5:07, the Oilers went back to the PK as Ryan Whitney was called for tripping. Some scary moments ensued, but Edmonton came up with its third kill of the game to keep the contest in a 3-1 score.
Flames defenceman Mark Giordano was erroneously called for tripping at 7:46, putting the Oilers on their second power-play of the night. Just like the earlier advantage, the visitors made good on it.
Eberle curled from the corner and into the slot, picked his spot, set his sights and launched a missle of a wrist shot up and over Kiprusoff to make it a 3-2 game.
Calgary nearly got it right back as Blair Jones rifled a rocket off Dubnyk's blocker-side post.
With 6:58 to play, Nugent-Hopkins was assessed an interference minor; Calgary's 0-for-3 power-play got another chance. Late in the 5-on-4, Bouwmeester spotted a wide-open Lee Stempniak at the doorstep. Stempniak made no mistake, redirecting the pass up and over Dubnyk for a 4-2 Flames lead at 14:57.
The Oilers were granted another chance to get back in the game as Blake Comeau was sent off for slashing, but it lasted only 37 seconds. An interference penalty to Horcoff canceled that and put the teams in a lengthy 4-on-4 situation.
The Oilers did not generate a single shot since Eberle's goal at 8:47. As a result, the club skated into the intermission trailing 4-2. Calgary continued to dominate the shot clock with a 26-14 advantage overall.
With the Oilers still searching for that elusive shot since Eberle's second-period tally, the Flames almost extended to a 5-2 lead. With both defenceman well out of position, Blair Jones had what appeared to be a tap-in. Dubnyk, however, made a sensational stop to give his team a chance down the stretch.
Stempniak nearly did the same with Eric Belanger draped all over him, but Dubnyk again was solid in denying the chance. Belanger was also assessed a penalty on the play. With 36 seconds remaining in the Flames power-play, Iginla was called for hooking. Both penalties were killed by the respective teams.
The Oilers eventually recorded their 15th shot, but it took well over a period to get it.
Edmonton pulled Dubnyk for an extra-attacker with 1:45 to play, but it mattered little. Gagner scored with 0.3 to play, but it wasn't enough as the Oilers lost 4-3.