Oilers dismantle Flames in Calgary
The Edmonton Oilers broke an ugly streak in a big way Tuesday.
Sam Gagner and Jordan Eberle each had a goal and two assists as the Edmonton Oilers erupted for four unanswered goals in the second period to stun the Calgary Flames 6-1.
Calgary entered with 5-0-3 record in February, had won 10 straight at home against the Oilers and had beaten Edmonton in 16 of the last 17 meetings.
Meanwhile, Edmonton had won just once of its last six outings and just one of its previous nine games away from home.
"We've got a lot of pride in here and it's never fun to come into a building and get dominated like we have," Gagner said. "We wanted to focus on what we could do tonight and we felt like we played a great 60 minutes. It's a great feeling in here, hopefully we can keep it going."
The Oilers are all but out of the playoff picture in the Western Conference, while the Flames are in a battle for the final post-season spot. Calgary entered Tuesday in eighth place, but were bumped down to ninth after L.A. got a point in a 5-4 shootout loss to Phoenix.
"We're in a situation where we want to win hockey games, we want to move up the standings and be the best team we can be," said Eberle, who leads the team with 26 goals and 58 points. "When you have a team like Calgary, who is fighting for a playoff spot, and you can come in and disrupt that, it's fun, that's what we're here to do. We want to be competitive."
Ryan Smyth, Taylor Hall, Ales Hemsky and Eric Belanger had the other goals for Edmonton (23-30-6).
Scott Hannan, with his second of the season and first in 52 games, had the only goal for Calgary (28-23-10), whose stay in the top eight in the Western Conference ended after three nights.
"It was a terrible game for us. Our goaltending was very good again but we were just extremely flat, we weren't very sharp at all," said Flames captain Jarome Iginla, who was a minus-3. "Probably our second worst game of the year, next to Boston (9-0 loss on Jan. 5). We just all just picked the same night to have a terrible night except our goaltending."
The Oilers were the better team right from the opening faceoff and unlucky to not be ahead after a first period in which they outshot the Flames 17-7.
"Even though they got the first goal of the game, we set the tempo right off the bat, first shift," said Hall, who had a game-high nine shots. "All four lines had a great first shift and from there, we kept going. I think we took note of what a couple of teams have done to us in the first couple minutes in our building and we wanted to do that tonight and we did."
The home side almost escaped the first period with a 1-0 lead but Eberle scored on a great individual effort with 1:12 remaining. Miikka Kiprusoff stopped a shot from Gagner, jabbed out a pad to stop Eberle on his first shot, but he reeled in his own rebound and lifted a backhand just under the crossbar.
"We just rolled from there," said Eberle. "Going into the second, I felt like we just dominated."
Kiprusoff, who entered the night 10-3-3 in his last 16 games, with a .944 save percentage, was pulled after two periods with the shots 33-11 in favour of Edmonton. Henrik Karlsson played the final 20 minutes. The final shots were 42-22.
"Over 82 games, there are going to be games like this," said Hannan. "We have a lot of confidence in this room, we've been playing good hockey, we're right there, we're right in the thick of it, you can't expect to have it every night."
Tied 1-1, the constant pressure by the younger and faster Oilers eventually resulted in a breakthrough as Edmonton scored three times in less than five minutes to seize a 4-1 lead.
Hemsky scored on a pass from Hall on a 2-on-1 at 8:09 for his first goal in 17 games.
After Belanger buried Ben Eager's rebound on another 2-on-1, Gagner one-timed an Eberle pass 30 seconds later for his 14th goal.
It was the first time in 14 games Calgary has surrendered more than three goals and the first time in nine games Edmonton had given up less than three.
At game's end, disgruntled Flames fans booed and many threw seat cushions onto the ice, which were given out as part of a promotion.