Flames win on Khabibulin flub
Calgary Flames forward David Moss scored his second goal of the game with 49 seconds left, pouncing on a major gaffe by Edmonton Oilers goalie Nikolai Khabibulin in a 4-3 result at Rexall Place on Saturday night.
The Oilers had rallied from 3-1 down but it all fell apart at the end.
First, Edmonton forward Patrick O'Sullivan had the puck on his stick in the slot with just over one minute left in the game but missed the net.
Calgary's Rene Bourque cleared the puck off the boards in his own end and down the ice, where Khabibulin came out to play it to his defence. Unfortunately for the Edmonton netminder, he mishit the puck, allowing Moss to intercept and knock it into an empty net.
"It was just one of those things where it's a rolling puck and I tried to force him, and he just kind of fanned on it and it was one of those lucky breaks," Moss told Hockey Night in Canada after the game.
Curtis Glencross and Nigel Dawes scored for Calgary (2-0), with defenceman Jay Bouwmeester recording two assists. Miikka Kiprusoff was strong in net, making 31 saves.
Dustin Penner had a goal and an assist for Edmonton (0-1), with Gilbert Brule and Sam Gagner also scoring.
Khabibulin finished with 17 saves.
"We're going to have to learn to not beat ourselves before we can really start to be a team that wins hockey games," said coach Pat Quinn, making his regular-season return to the NHL after more than three seasons.
"I didn't like any of our goals against tonight, but especially that one," he said.
Calgary opened the scoring at the 1:52 mark after Oilers defenceman Lubomir Visnovsky coughed up the puck behind his own net.
Glencross made a deft backhand move to beat Khabibulin, assisted by Dustin Boyd and Craig Conroy.
"That early goal, on what, the third shift of the game — we had a whole bunch of poor plays on it," said Quinn.
Edmonton kept up the pressure in Calgary's end, with Penner rewarded to tie the score just over four minutes later.
Jean-Francois Jacques had a good chance down low to put the Oilers ahead on a power-play chance but couldn't lift the puck over Kiprusoff.
Moss did strike on Calgary's power play with Zack Stortini in the box, with Bouwmeester and Olli Jokinen drawing an assist.
The Flames went up by a pair in the second as a result of a Dion Phaneuf blast from the point. Dawes was credited with the goal, although he later told HNIC he didn't feel the puck hit his stick. The shot appeared to go off Edmonton defenceman Ladislav Smid and past Khabibulin.
The Oilers were unbowed. Penner caught several Flames players staggered to the right and found Brule on the left side. The forward blasted the puck between Kiprusoff's legs for a 3-2 score late in the third.
With seconds left in the period, Visnovsky wired a shot that was met by Kiprusoff's pad.
Edmonton got the equalizer with just under seven minutes left in the third. Flames defenceman Mark Giordano turned over the puck, with Gagner opportunistic in the slot to beat Kiprusoff.
Gagner, who struggled in his sophomore year last season, got into a second-period scrap with Conroy.
"After he got in the little mix-up, he seemed to be enthused by it," said Quinn. "Maybe concentrating so hard on not fouling up, he wasn't playing his game, and maybe after that it loosened him up, all of a sudden he was a significant player. He jumped on that loose puck for the goal."
The Flames had a bout of sustained pressure on the Oilers with just over three minutes remaining but could not beat Khabibulin, leading to the unusual chain of events in the final minute.
"It was one of those games were there was breaks happening back and forth, and it was a scary game from that standpoint but we're happy with the two points," said Moss.
Edmonton returns to action with a home game Tuesday against Dallas, with Calgary going for its third consecutive win the same night against Montreal.