[37-29-16]
6
2
01/21/2012
FINAL
[32-40-10]
123T
CGY3126
23SHOTS23
18FACEOFFS23
11HITS24
4PIM10
1/5PP0/2
12GIVEAWAYS14
6TAKEAWAYS10
19BLOCKED SHOTS18
     

Flames cruise past Oilers in 6-2 win

Sunday, 01.22.2012 / 12:42 AM

The Battle of Alberta continues to be a one-sided affair.

Lee Stempniak had a hat trick and an assist as the Flames torched the Edmonton Oilers 6-2 at Rexall Place on Saturday for their ninth straight win against their provincial rivals.

Blake Comeau and Jay Bouwmeester each had a goal and an assist for the Flames, who've won 16 of their last 17 against the Oilers. Mikael Backlund also scored for Calgary (23-20-6), which is 5-1-1 in its last seven games overall.

"We know how important the points are the rest of the way in and we want to play consistently hard hockey," Comeau said. "We played well on this road trip, and if we can continue to do that and play as well as we have at home, I think we are going to set ourselves up nicely. Everyone is keeping their eyes on the standings right now. There aren't going to be any easy games from here on out."

Taylor Hall returned after missing two games with a 30-stitch cut in his forehead, but it made no difference as the Oilers (17-26-4) lost for the eighth time in nine games. Andy Sutton and Ryan Smyth scored for Edmonton, which has just five wins in its last 25 games.

"We can't hang our heads," Sutton said. "We have to give everything we have. We've been on a rough slide, we're trying everything we can to stay positive."

The Oilers haven't beaten Calgary since a 4-0 victory on opening night in 2010-11.

"It's supposed to be a great rivalry," Oilers coach Tom Renney said. "We have to live up to our end of the bargain."

Calgary started opened the scoring 6:48 into the game. Just after an Oiler penalty expired, Mark Giordano made a great cross-ice pass to give Backlund an open net; Backlund put it home before Nikolai Khabibulin could get across for his fourth of the season.

It became 2-0 at 10:14 when Comeau blasted a shot from the top of the circle that clipped Khabibulin's pad before rolling into the net. Stempniak got his first of the night at 18:52 when he picked the top corner with a quick wrist shot for his 10th of the season.

"We got ourselves behind the eight-ball right away," Renney said of the poor start. "We weren't very smart. Calgary has played very disciplined against us and we needed to match that intelligence and play the way we need to play to have success.

"I think they are giving it everything they have, but are at a little bit of a loss right now. It may be a confidence issue. But the answer is with them, not anybody else."


The Flames had the better of play in the second period, but didn't score again until there were 36 seconds remaining. Stempniak scored on another long shot, beating Khabibulin with a low shot to the glove side from the top of the circle.

The Oilers broke Miikka Kiprusoff's shutout bid 4:24 into the third as Jordan Eberle found Sutton pinching in from the point. Sutton's goal broke a stretch of seven periods without a score for Edmonton.

Calgary restored its four-goal advantage at 7:01 when Jarome Iginla's shot was deflected by Bouwmeester and hit the post but then hit the back of goaltender Devan Dubnyk's skates and went into the net.

Smyth tipped in Jeff Petry's shot with 3:45 for his 16th of the season, but Stempniak hit the empty net with 2:05 remaining to complete his hat trick and cap a night in which he went plus-5 -- a huge turnaround for a player who scored just once in his previous 20 games.

"I was the recipient of a couple of good plays and it feels good to score in a win," he said of his second career hat trick. "It was a big game for us and it was nice to be able to contribute like that. It's a relief to get some goals. Hopefully that is the start, and I can get rolling off of this."

Edmonton remains at home to play San Jose on Monday; Calgary hosts the Sharks on Tuesday.

Material from team media and wire services was used in this report
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