McDavid, Draisaitl held pointless but Oilers hold on to edge Flames
Battle of Alberta is now 1-1 ahead of Saturday's rematch
The Edmonton Oilers relied on defence instead of their scoring stars to beat the host Calgary Flames 2-1 on Friday.
Oilers goaltender Mike Smith turned away 20 shots for his third win in four starts.
The NHL's top two scorers — Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl respectively — were held without a point.
Edmonton's defence felt to be a weakness at the start of the season was stout Friday.
"We'll take the points any way we can right now," Oilers forward Ryan Nugent-Hopkins said. "Probably wasn't our prettiest win, but sometimes it's going to go down like that and you've just got to grind it out.
"I thought Smitty and our D-corp was really solid tonight. Not giving them too many good opportunities.
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"This is going to be tight-checking division when it comes down to it. I know it's been kind of high scoring, but it's not always going to be like this."
Defenceman Rasmus Andersson scored for Calgary (8-8-1). David Rittich made 23 saves in his third start of the season.
The Flames gave Jacob Markstrom a breather after he started seven games in a row and 14 of Calgary's first 16. The Oilers knotted this season's Battle of Alberta at 1-1 ahead of ahead of Saturday's rematch in Edmonton.
The Flames prevailed 6-4 in the first of their 10 meetings in the North Division on Feb. 6.
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The two clubs combined for over 100 minutes in their final clash last season, but the provincial rivalry has been slow to boil in 2020-21.
Calgary and Edmonton combined for five minors Friday. The Flames went scoreless on three power-play chances and the Oilers went 0-for-2.
"We've got more to give for sure," Ward said. "It was a step in the right directions, but we can still be better."
"We've got to find a way to generate a little bit more in terms of pushing ourselves forward. At points there was some [emotion]. At other points we need to have more desperation still.
"There wasn't a lot of ice out there for sure. We know how to play to get through it. It's just a matter of putting our minds to it and getting it done."
Flames shifting lines
Haas made it 2-0 for the visitors at 17:55 of the second period. Andersson halved the deficit 45 seconds later.
Calgary centre Sean Monahan was scratched with a lower-body injury, which shifted Johnny Gaudreau to a line with centre Elias Lindholm and right-winger Dillon Dube.
Gaudreau deked Tyson Barrie in the corner and dished to Andersson to beat Smith's glove with a wrist shot.
Rittich made the initial save on Haas, but was tangled with a prone teammate Noah Hanifin when Haas chipped the puck over the goalie's right pad on a second effort.
Calgary trailed after the first period for the 10th time in 17 games.
Barrie skated the puck down low to stretch Calgary's defence and fed an all-alone Puljujarvi on Rittich's doorstep at 5:41 of the first period.
Flames forward Sam Bennett didn't play in the third period and totalled six and a half minutes of ice time in the game. Ward declined to say why.
Bennett's agent said last month the forward was unhappy with his role on the team.