EDMONTON, AB - The Oilers overcame a slow start to tie things up in the second, but Mason Raymond recorded a hat trick for the Flames as the visitors from Calgary dropped Edmonton, 5-2 in their home opener.
“We came out of the gates a little tight, we gave up a lot of opportunities and they capitalized,” Oilers winger David Perron said. “I thought we did a good job of staying composed and sticking to our plan. We had a lot of chances, the opportunities were there, we just didn’t capitalize. The mistakes we made, they exposed us and that’s why they won.”
The Flames struck first just 3:16 into the game. Joe Colborne passed the puck from behind the net out to Mark Giordano. The Calgary captain fired a shot from the high slot, through traffic and Mason Raymond tipped it in.
Jiri Hudler gave Calgary a 2-0 lead, exactly one minute following the first goal. A giveaway behind the net allowed Sean Monahan to pass the puck out in front to Hudler, who buried it behind goaltender Ben Scrivens. Paul Byron got the second assist.
With Colborne in the box for a hooking penalty, the Oilers cut the Flames lead in half. Some nice passing by Nail Yakupov and David Perron on the power play set up Teddy Purcell for his first goal as a member of the Edmonton organization. Purcell was acquired in a trade with Tampa Bay in June. The goal at 12:59 of the first period made it a 2-1 game.
The Oilers had turned the tide of the game, closing out the first period with offensive pressure and a few scoring chances. They outshot Calgary 14-7 in that opening frame.
The Oilers utilized a 5-on-3 power play at 11:25 of the second period to tie the game at 2-2. Ryan Nugent-Hopkins passed the puck from the high slot to Taylor Hall at the top of the circle and he ripped a one-timer past Flames netminder Karri Ramo. Justin Schultz got the secondary assist on the game-tying goal.
The Oilers continued to control the pace of the game throughout the second period, outshooting the Flames 11-4.
“It was good that we were able to recover there and we had a lot of good looks,” Perron said. “I hate getting into that because it’s kind of what we had going sometimes last year. If we get 40 shots on net every night, I like our chances.”
The Flames quieted the Oilers surge and regained the lead at 4:22 of the third period, when Raymond scored his second goal of the night. Raymond walked in on the wing and fired in a slap shot glove-side of Scrivens. Lance Bouma and Colborne got the assists.
“That was a tough one to give up at the start of the third,” Hall said. “We felt like we really had some momentum, scoring those two goals on the power play. It’s hockey. There are 82 games and sometimes you’re going to play well and it’s just not going to happen, their goalie is going to play well. Sometimes you’re not going to play well and you’re going to get a gift of a win. We’ve got to keep on an even keel. I think that’s something in the past where we’ve played well and then we kind of veered off because we don’t get results. We want to stick to our game plan and stick to the process.”
At 14:42 of the final frame, Raymond netted the hat trick by crashing the net and deflected in a shot by Colborne at the post. Hudler recorded the second assist, as Calgary took the 4-2 lead.
At 19:20 on the power play, T.J. Brodie put the game out of reach. Curtis Glencross and Mikael Backlund recorded the helpers.
The Oilers peppered Ramo with shots all night, but the Flames goaltender made 38 saves.
“We did a lot of good things tonight and I think that’s real easy to see on the ice,” Hall said. “We outshot them, which isn’t always going to win you games but we feel like we came with the right game plan and, for the most part, we executed it.”