EDMONTON - It looked like it would be a double dose of the Edmonton Oilers triumphing over the Calgary Flames in the Split Squad Battle of Alberta on Saturday night but a late charge by the Calgary road squad resulted in a 6-5 shootout victory for the Flames.
The Oilers had a 5-2 lead with nine minutes to play in the third period but then Calgary found some spark and came all the way back to tie the game at 5-5 with three goals in just over four minutes.
"There are some habits that we need to correct, and we'll be on them as quick as possible," said Oilers Associate Coach Keith Acton, noting particularly the players' shift lengths and their contribution to the Calgary comeback.
Action did like what he saw from a lot of his troops tonight.
"Davidson and Nurse played well on defence. I thought Andrew Ference did as well. We did some good things. I thougth we went to the net really well. Jesse (Joensuu) did well going on the net," Acton continued. "Five goals should be enough to win a game."
Lance Bouma's goal was followed just over a minute later by one from Josh Jooris and then T.J. Galiardi hammered home a power play marker with 4:51 to play to tie it up.
It didn't take the Oilers long at all to do some damage as Taylor Hall fired a shot from the top of the left circle that barely made it over the line -- or perhaps didn't, depending on what angle you were looking at -- after Flames netminder Kari Rammo got a piece of it.
Moments later Ben Street fired a shot from the side boards that eluded a screened Dubnyk and suddenly the game was even at 1-1. Ironically, just over a minute into the game and the match-up at Rexall Place had more goals scored in it than the contest going on three hours south despite that one starting an hour earlier.
The first penalty of the game went to Calgary's Lance Bouma, but the Oilers were unable to convert on the man advantage.
Marco Roy took a minor penalty with just over eight minutes to play in the opening frame to put the Flames up a man for the first time on the night. However, that power play was short-lived as Sven Baertschi took a hooking penalty less than a minute later.
That one-goal lead turned into a two-goal lead with 58 seconds to play in the opening frame. Kyle Platzer poked his stick into a scramble and knocked the puck over Rammo to increase the Oilers lead to 3-1.
After one period, shots on goal were 13-8 in favour of Edmonton.
The Oilers opened the second period much the same way as the first, with a lot of energy and it led to another early goal.
Off the rush, the Oilers start hacking away at the puck with Rammo doing acrobatics keeping the puck out of the net. The play started with Nail Yakupov's shot from the left circle and a rebound point-blank by Jesse Joensuu. Mark Arcobello then swooped in to put home the third rebound and make it a 4-1 game.
Near the midway point of the middle frame, Jiri Hudler fed Dennis Wideman at the top of the right circle and he made no mistake, rifling a shot blocker-side past Dubnyk to draw the Flames within two.
The Oilers responded a minute later. Joensuu shoveled the puck from behind the net, wrapping it past Reto Berra, who recently replaced Rammo in the goal.
Calgary outshot Edmonton 14-8 in the middle frame and had a 22-21 edge in shots over 40 minutes overall.