|CGY||0||0||0||(0 - 0)||0|
|EDM||1||0||3||(0 - 0)||4|
It couldn't have gone any better: With a tough season behind them and their arch enemies, the Flames, before them, the Oilers combined top-notch goaltending with skilled offensive attacks to start the season with a 4-0 win.
Gilbert Brule got scoring started in the first, followed by Jordan Eberle, Ales Hemsky, and Shawn Horcoff, who sealed the deal early in the third. Eberle and defenceman Ryan Whitney led the game with two points each, while Nikolai Khabibulin marked his first game since November 2009 with a perfect 37 saves.
Under the Scope
Following dramatic opening festivities, the first regular-season Battle of Alberta got underway at Rexall Place. The Oilers and Flames tallied four and two shots respectively before Ryan Jones and Stefan Meyer stole the spotlight with a fast and furious fight at the six-minute mark.
With both players serving fighting majors, the Oilers took control and descended in on Miikka Kiprusoff. Dustin Penner led the rush, forced the puck across the line, and the net off it's moorings, but officials waved off the red light due to goaltender interference.
After the scoring chance, Edmonton went on the power-play when Calgary's Adam Pardy and Jay Bouwmeester were called for tripping and delay of game. Although the Oil couldn't capitalize during Pardy's penalty, including a brief five-on-three, steady pressure eventually got the job done.
With help from Whitney, Brule deflected a shot off a defender's shoulder and past Kiprusoff to give the Oilers a 1-0 lead on the power-play.
Two more Flames infractions helped the Oilers attain a commanding 19-9 shot lead, highlighted by some impressive offensive plays courtesy of Penner, Sam Gagner, Ales Hemsky, as well as rookies Taylor Hall, Jordan Eberle, and Magnus Paajarvi.
A late slashing minor to Hall ensured the Oilers would start the middle frame up a goal and down a man.
The Flames caught fire on puck drop, tallying eight shots on Nikolai Khabibulin before the Oilers could register one. With the teams nearly even in attempts, the battle escalated into fisticuffs for the second time. With eight minutes left in the frame, Theo Peckham and Tim Jackman went toe-to-toe along the boards, thrilling fans with flailing limbs and flying fists.
Peckham soon got some company in the Oilers penalty box: on a delayed penalty to Ryan Jones, Colin Fraser and Brett Sutter initiated a duel of their own. The Flames used the power-play to take their first shot lead of the game, but Khabibulin and his penalty killers stood strong to maintain their lead.
An extra penalty to each side kept things interesting as the period wound down, but the 1-0 game held out until the buzzer.
Edmonton was on the penalty kill to start the third but that had little effect on their performance. With two seconds remaining in Paajarvi's hooking minor, Eberle skated up the right wing, skirted a sliding Mark Giordano, deked Kiprusoff, and backhanded the puck top shelf to score a standing-ovation-worthy shorthanded goal.
1:19 later, another right winger made it 3-0. With help from Gagner and Ladislav Smid, Hemsky got the puck and slapped it on net. Although Kiprusoff caught a piece with his right shoulder, it wasn't enough to deflect wide and the Oil found themselves with a three-goal cushion.
Even though Calgary continued to hold the shot lead, Edmonton continued to make theirs count. Seven seconds after Niklas Hagman sat down in the penalty box for slashing, Shawn Horcoff added his name to the scoresheet by deflecting Eberle's snapshot into the net. With helpers on the play, Eberle and Whitney entered the two-point club.
Khabibulin made some stellar and steady saves as minutes expired, and the Flames were increasingly frustrated by the goalie.
With 2:20 left in regulation, Steve MacIntyre and Raitis Ivanans decided to drop their gloves on the blue line, and although the fight started evenly, it ended unbalanced. After a few punches were thrown, MacIntyre landed two powerful jabs, instantly dropping Ivanans. The Flame didn't get up for some time and required medical attention and assistance from two teammates to leave the ice.
The fight capped a spirited and skillful season-opening game for the Oilers in which they walked away with a 4-0 victory over their arch rivals.
|PPG - Gilbert Brule (1) Wrist shot - ASST: Ryan Whitney (1)|
1 - 0 EDM
|SHG - Jordan Eberle (1) Backhand shot - ASST: Jim Vandermeer (1)|
2 - 0 EDM
|Ales Hemsky (1) Slapshot - ASST: Sam Gagner (1), Ladislav Smid (1)|
3 - 0 EDM
|PPG - Shawn Horcoff (1) Snap shot - ASST: Jordan Eberle (1), Ryan Whitney (2)|
4 - 0 EDM
|Ryan Jones Fighting (maj) against Stefan Meyer|
|Stefan Meyer Fighting (maj) against Ryan Jones|
|Adam Pardy Tripping against Jordan Eberle|
|Jay Bouwmeester Delaying Game-Puck over glass|
|Brendan Morrison Hooking against Shawn Horcoff|
|Adam Pardy Delaying Game-Puck over glass|
|Taylor Hall Slashing against Brendan Morrison|
|Theo Peckham Fighting (maj) against Tim Jackman|
|Tim Jackman Fighting (maj) against Theo Peckham|
|Brett Sutter Fighting (maj) against Colin Fraser|
|Colin Fraser Fighting (maj) against Brett Sutter|
|Ryan Jones Holding against Stefan Meyer|
|Jay Bouwmeester Slashing against Tom Gilbert|
|Magnus Paajarvi Hooking against Stefan Meyer|
|Niklas Hagman Hooking against Steve MacIntyre|
|Kurtis Foster Boarding against Niklas Hagman|
|Steve MacIntyre Fighting (maj) against Raitis Ivanans|
|Raitis Ivanans Fighting (maj) against Steve MacIntyre|
|SA: 33||TOI: 59:47|
|Saves: 29||EV: 19 - 20|
|PIM: 0||PP: 10 - 12|
|SV%: .879||SH: 0 - 1|
|SA: 37||TOI: 60:00|
|Saves: 37||EV: 27 - 27|
|PIM: 0||PP: 8 - 8|
|SV%: 1.000||SH: 2 - 2|