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Petr Sykora has quickly established himself as a new scoring presence for the Edmonton Oilers. The Calgary Flames are still looking for theirs to emerge.
Sykora will try to match his stellar debut when the Oilers conclude a home-and-home series with the Flames on Saturday at Pengrowth Saddledome.
The veteran forward spent the first part of last season with Anaheim before being dealt to the New York Rangers, totaling 23 goals and 28 assists on the season.
He signed as an unrestricted free agent with the defending Western Conference champions in the offseason and made an immediate impact in Thursday's season opener, scoring two goals in the first period to lead the Oilers to a 3-1 victory over the Flames.
"The game went well," said Sykora, who added an assist on Daniel Tjarnqvist's third-period goal. "You want to get that first win and release that pressure."
The Flames poured on much of the pressure Thursday, outshooting Edmonton 32-22, but their scoring woes from last season continued. Calgary averaged just 2.63 goals per game, which ranked 27th in the NHL, and acquired Alex Tanguay from Colorado in the offseason in an effort to boost those numbers.
Tanguay, though, could not register a point in the opener while Flames captain Jarome Iginla, who has led the team in scoring the last five seasons, was the only player to find the back of the net as he scored with less than six minutes to play.
The Flames' power-play unit ranked 12th in the NHL last season, converting 18.2 percent of its chances, but got off to a rough start Thursday, going 0-for-10.
"We had the chances," said Iginla, who missed a penalty shot in the first period. "On the power play we've got to be better."
To improve those numbers, the Flames will need to solve Edmonton goaltender Dwayne Roloson, who made 31 saves Thursday. The 36-year-old veteran, acquired from Minnesota last March, has won only once in eight career starts at Calgary.
Flames netminder Miikka Kiprusoff had an uncharacteristically shaky performance against Edmonton on Thursday, making 19 saves and losing for just the fourth time in 13 starts versus the Oilers. The reigning Vezina Trophy winner has a 1.90 lifetime goals-against average against them, and his only loss in six home starts versus Edmonton came in a shootout last season.
The Flames went 30-7-4 at the Saddledome in 2005-06, the second-best home mark in the Western Conference.
They'll face an Edmonton squad that went a Northwest Division-best 21-13-7 on the road last season.
Edmonton signed assistant captain Ethan Moreau to a four-year contract extension Friday, a deal that could keep him with the team through the 2010-11 season. The veteran left wing, in his eighth season with the Oilers, recorded 11 goals and 16 assists in 74 games last season.
|Apr 07 '07||EDM 3 at CGY 2|
|Mar 03 '07||CGY 4 at EDM 2|
|Jan 20 '07||CGY 4 at EDM 0|
|Jan 13 '07||EDM 1 at CGY 3|
|Dec 31 '06||EDM 2 at CGY 4|
|Nov 21 '06||CGY 1 at EDM 2|
|Oct 07 '06||EDM 1 at CGY 2|
|Oct 05 '06||CGY 1 at EDM 3|