The Battle of Alberta continues to swing toward the Calgary Flames.
The Flames survived an early two-goal blitz by the Edmonton Oilers, getting two goals by Olli Jokinen and the go-ahead tally by Mikael Backlund midway through the third period for a 5-3 victory at Rexall Place on Saturday night.
It was the Flames' seventh win in a row against the Oilers and the 100th win against their provincial rivals since moving from Atlanta in 1980. Calgary is 100-81-18-3 in the regular season against the Oilers and has won 16 of the last 18 meetings.
"I'm not even going to guess what it is," Flames captain Jarome Iginla said when asked why his team has dominated its archrival for the past few years. "We definitely look forward to these games and the challenge of them. It's always a great atmosphere. They're still one of the most fun teams to play, especially on a Saturday night.
"But I'm not going to guess why. They all seem to be pretty close games."
Backlund broke a 3-3 tie at 10:25 of the third period when he set up in the slot and swatted home a pass from Iginla, whose three assists helped the Flames rally after falling behind by two goals just three minutes into the game. Jokinen hit the empty net from just beyond his own blue line with 31.1 seconds left to give the Flames their third win in their last four games and second in as many meetings with their biggest rival this season.
Miikka Kiprusoff overcame a slow start and finished with 26 saves to improve to 12-1-0 in his last 13 decisions against Edmonton, which has dropped four of five.
"Calgary found a way to fight their way back into it," Oilers coach Tom Renney said. "We've got to continue to compete, and harder than we have been lately, because it hasn't been enough."
The Oilers started out as if they would run the Flames all the way back to Calgary. Lennart Petrell got credit for a goal at 2:19 when Darcy Hordichuk's pass hit him and went into the net, and Sam Gagner snapped a long wrist shot through traffic and past Kiprusoff 41 seconds later for his first of the season.
"It could have gotten away from us there," Iginla said. "They were really rolling. I thought we were going to get a beating. Fortunately, we took a timeout and calmed down and came right back with a goal on the power play and got our feet back into us and back into it."
Flames coach Brent Sutter quickly called his timeout -- and Calgary needed less than four minutes to get even.
"I think it was just settling down," Sutter said. "We still had 57 minutes of hockey left. We just needed to get to our game and we'd be fine. We got a power play and were able to capitalize on it."
Edmonton defenseman Andy Sutton took a needless roughing penalty, and the Flames made the Oilers pay when Jokinen snapped a passout from Iginla behind Nikolai Khabibulin for a power-play goal just 49 seconds after Gagner scored. At 6:45, Rene Bourque cut across the slot, picked up the rebound of Roman Horak's shot and whipped it into the net while being knocked down.
"We got a two-goal lead and thought it was going to be easy, but it's never easy," Gagner said. "We've got to find a way to rectify that."
After a scoreless second period, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins took advantage of a bad rebound allowed by Kiprusoff on a soft shot by Jordan Eberle when he drove to the net and flipped home his 12th of the season at 5:27 of the third period. That lead lasted just 44 seconds, as 27-year-old rookie Derek Smith jumped into a hole in the left circle, took a pass from Iginla and lasered a shot from below the faceoff dot into the far corner for his second of the season and a 3-3 tie.
"We stuck with it," Iginla said. "We've been skating a lot better lately and looking a lot quicker than we were earlier."
Added Sutter: "We played resilient. We felt very comfortable and confident. I thought after the first three minutes we settled down and played. Our forecheck was good, we created turnovers and our special teams were very good."
Material from team media was used in this report.